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Opening the door to a new outdoor recreation center

Weber State University’s new Welcome and Outdoor Recreation Building opened its doors on Feb. 3, and both the Outdoor Program and Admissions Departments will have a home in the building.

Backpacks hang on a wall next to picture of a rock climber for new Outdoor Program Recreation Center. (Katherine Berghout/ The Signpost)
Backpacks hang on a wall next to picture of a rock climber for new Outdoor Program Recreation Center. (Katherine Berghout/ The Signpost)

This addition to the “mountain-metro” area in Ogden will impact students and the Ogden community alike. The Welcome Center has the largest climbing wall on any campus in the state, towering at 55 ft. tall, a fully functioning ski-tuning shop and a technical training center.

One individual who has been heavily involved in the process of bringing this outdoor recreation headquarters to campus is Daniel Turner, associate director of campus recreation. Turner explained the ins and outs of the new building, which he helped design as a student at WSU about 20 years ago.

“I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a student,” Turner said. “One of my projects when I was a student here was to design an outdoor recreation facility, and many of the features in this building were in that original design.”

The new building will also be the welcome center for new students. Some prospective students took a tour on Feb. 1 and got a first look at the new building.

Brandon Lovell, a junior at WSU, gives campus tours for incoming freshmen through the WSU Admissions Office.

“We will be giving presentations and showing prospective students the new building and going around campus and ending back here at the new Welcome Center,” Lovell said.

The climbing wall inside the new Outdoor Recreation Program has multiple lines for people to climb up. (Katherine Berghout/ The Signpost)

The new building will be also home to new strategic learning features, which can be found in the Technical Training Center. These will allow for cutting-edge trainings and simulations, some of which will be the scenarios of fire evacuations, police and other emergency drills. Students can come to the Welcome Center to push their personal limits, become more active, learn new outdoors skills or to just take a break from the monotony of the classroom.

The outdoor sports Utah offers provide billions in annual revenue, and the Welcome Center will be a part of the community.

There is also a 65-foot rapelling station on top of the Welcome Center, designed so students will be able to rappel from the rooftop down to the ground. Turner hopes that rappelling off of the rooftop will become a new Wildcat tradition.

Construction began in October 2019. Putting together this building from ground-breaking to ribbon cutting took about a year and four months.

The Recreation Center is an outlet for WSU students. It offers many different kinds of trips, climbing clinics and much more, all while being heavily discounted for students. Currently, they serve about 1,800 students per year, and the new building will bring about 30 new student jobs to campus.

Gear hangs on the wall of the new Outdoor Recreation Center. (Katherine Berghout/ The Signpost)

Turner points out that in 1922, 275 students, faculty and staff from the then-Weber Academy climbed through Taylor’s Canyon. They brought with them cement, water, a 25-foot-long and 300-pound flagpole, and planted the WSU flag by the radio towers.

“Weber Academy was trying to put themselves on the map and make the statement that they were here to stay, that they were an institution that had a vision and a place here,” Turner said. “And in 2021, that’s exactly what this building is doing. It’s serving as beacon for our campus and community.”

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