Weber State University Athletics announced the start of construction of a state-of-the-art athletic complex on Aug. 17. The facility will be built on the north end of Stewart Stadium surrounding the Chick Hislop track.
The project will include the Barbara and Rory Youngberg Football Center, the Sark’s Boys Gateway, the Stromberg Strength and Conditioning Complex, the Marquardt-Kimball Plaza and the Behnken Plaza.
The Sark’s Boys gateway, which will provide a new main fan entrance, is named after former head coach Sark Arslanian. Recent concept illustrations show a more modern design.
“This complex is transformational to our program,” Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee said. “Over the past ten years, we have made great strides in improving the athletic and academic facilities for our student-athletes, and this capstone project will insist in the development of not only the football program but all of our sports.”
The new complex will bolster the existing strength and conditioning facilities, provide new home and away locker rooms for the football team and features an expanded equipment room. A new video board will also be a part of the facility — the second in the stadium.
“The complex allows for an expanded space for our training and nutritional needs,” Bovee said, “which will benefit all our 16 sports.”
The 27,000-square-foot multi-use building will add a new plaza for fans to gather before home games. An upgraded ticket office and merchandise shop will take the place of the pre-existing trailer and shack.
The Barbara and Rory Football Center will include new coach offices, position group meeting rooms and a 125-seat team room that will benefit all Weber State athletic programs.
“This building demonstrates to recruits, players and staff the commitment that Weber State University has to its student-athletes,” head coach Jay Hill said. “The new facility is critical for our program’s progress moving forward. It is fundamental for recruiting and the future development to all of our players.”
Some students on campus believe Weber State is funding this project with student’s tuition and fees.
For Bovee, and the rest of the athletic department, it was important to stress the community-driven funding for this new project.
“This facility is made possible through all of the generous donations of community members and former student-athletes,” Bovee said.
In 2016, Bovee and the athletic department hoped to raise at least $7 million from fundraising, and at the time of the first meeting, they were already halfway there.
Initially, concerns were raised over the complex taking out some of the parking in the W5 lot, just north of the stadium.
“The complex itself will not be taking out any of the parking spaces on campus,” project manager Travis Hogge said. “However, because of the equipment and space we need to build this, we have blocked off a few spaces for the year it will take to complete the project.”
Hogge explained that the facility will reside between the stadium’s track and parking lot. The complex will follow the track connecting the east and west grandstands.
As Weber State’s athletic director, Bovee has upgraded many of the athletic facilities on campus — most recently adding lights to the women’s soccer field in 2016.
Stewart Stadium has not had any additions since 2011 when a new track was laid down around the stadium and the field was converted from grass to
Construction began on Aug. 28. Fans and students who arrive early for the first Weber State home game on Sep. 15 against South Dakota can attend a groundbreaking ceremony an hour before kickoff, starting at 5 p.m.
The complex will be completed for the 2019 football season, marking 100 years of football at Weber State.