Wednesday, October 23 2013, 12:13 AM MDT
Weber County Sports Complex's Grand Opening
OGDEN, Utah (KUTV) The public is invited to the grand opening of the renovated Weber County Sports Complex, located west of the Dee Events Center, on Oct. 22. A short program is set for 6 p.m. in the lobby, followed by a ribbon cutting, tours and free ice skating, curling and field activities with WSU student-athletes.
The 73,000 square-foot expansion will bring community members, students, athletes and sports fans together underneath one roof. Weber State University and Weber County shared the cost of the year-long, $9.2 million remodel. WSU provided $3.4 million for the construction of this project with the support of approximately 80 percent coming from donors, including the Marquardt family, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and former WSU football athlete and alumnus Roger Trinchero. In recognition, the facility includes the Robert L. and Annette Marquardt Field House and the George S. Eccles Field.
Weber County, in conjunction with WSU, received a $2 million grant from Weber County RAMP to bring this new recreation facility to the community.
The two-story addition to the former Weber County Ice Sheet includes a new NHL-size ice rink, training and locker rooms on the ground floor, and an indoor practice field and state-of-the-art strength and conditioning complex for university athletes.
WSU Athletic Director Jerry Bovee said the new facility is a tremendous recruiting tool for prospective athletes, particularly the 60-yard-long George S. Eccles Field. The synthetic turf field is marked to accommodate football, soccer and softball, and also has drop-down batting cages for softball.
"More than anything, I think it shows our commitment to the programs and the commitment of donors to see them succeed," Bovee said. "It shows our student-athletes that we care about their opportunity to perform at their peak."
He said the athletes are excited to be able to get out of the inclement weather for year-round practice.
"Our soccer players have been practicing in January on a field we have to plow. It's so much more effective for their training to be able to control the environment," Bovee said.
Todd Ferrario, director of the Ice Sheet, said the addition allows the county to provide services it has not had enough space and time to accommodate previously.
"Now we can have 300 people participating during free-skate time and still have ice hockey practice," Ferrario said. "We used to try to wedge a group in here and there between everything else. Now we can work to expand in ways we've always wanted, while also expanding economic opportunities for Ogden."
The complex also will serve as the new home of the Ogden Mustangs hockey team.
"It's good for the city to have a Junior Hockey (WSHL) team here," Bovee said. "Hockey is a well-known and established sport in many parts of the world, but it’s emerging in Northern Utah."
Ferrario said about 200,000 community members used the Ice Sheet in 2012, and he expects more than 300,000 will access the complex by the end of 2013.
By Adam Mikulich
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)