Dude, where’s my fireplace?

The Fireplace Lounge at Weber State University’s Ogden campus.

The Department of Student Affairs has funded a renovation in the Shepherd Union Fireplace Lounge, replacing the older fireplace with a newer, larger one. Renovations began at the end of last semester, and will likely continue until the end of spring.

The lounge is located between the Wildcat Store and the bridge connecting Shepherd Union to the Student Services Center.

Daniel Kilcrease, executive director of student affairs auxiliaries, explained that funds are granted to Shepherd Union each year to go towards building renovations and projects. While normally, these funds go to carpeting or furniture replacement, they’re occasionally used for aesthetic projects like this.

“It’s a normal-size fireplace in a large, gigantic room,” Kilcrease said. “One of our hopes is that we can get a bigger fireplace footprint.”

The lounge has remained relatively unchanged since a major renovation to the entire Shepherd Union building in the mid-2000s.

Kilcrease said Student Affairs hired an architect from VCBO Architecture, a firm based in Salt Lake City. While it is currently unknown what the next fireplace will look like, Kilcrease is hopeful that the architect’s concept pictures will come in soon.

It’s common to see students studying, eating or even taking a nap in the Fireplace Lounge, but some students were unaware or oblivious to this renovation.

Tirzah Davis and Rebecca Packer, both students, were surprised to hear these changes had even occurred.

“The last time I was there, I didn’t even notice that there was a fireplace,” Packer said.

One reason for this is that there are many other study spaces on campus that students can choose from.

Braxton Higgs, an economics and legal studies major, said he prefers to study in the library, but he’d be interested to see what the new fireplace looks like once it’s complete.

The hope is that the renovation will be completed by the end of the semester. However, Kilcrease explained it could be later than that.

The renovations would cause interference for students who use the space to study and do homework. When this project began in the fall 2022 semester, the lounge was closed off to students, with the entrances covered by large plastic tarps.

“The fireplace is coming back,” Kilcrease assured. “We’re excited.”