Another construction update: Redesigning Weber’s campus

‘Road Closed’ and ‘Sidewalk Closed’ signs blocking off construction zones.

Campus Planning and Construction has been busy over the past several years creating a modern appeal to Weber State University campuses. This includes updating the parking situation and bringing some of the older buildings on both Ogden and Davis campuses up to speed, both infrastructurally and design-wise.

Over the past dozen years, Chad Downs, senior project manager with campus planning and construction, has had the chance to collaborate and see many of the construction projects on campus come to fruition. Downs provided an update about what students can expect to see happening construction-wise on WSU’s campuses.

West Campus Drive, located just outside the Kimball Visual Arts Center, is closed from March 18 to March 23 to wrap up a few adjustments. Downs hopes it will not be too much of a trouble for students, faculty and staff on campus.

While Downs knows the construction can be frustrating to some of those who attend the campus regularly, he assures that these plans have been in-the-making for years, and points toward some of the projects that have been happening.

“Birch Avenue will be closed to create much-needed parking space on WSU’s campus, and we will be set to tear down two homes which have been owned by WSU for years,” Downs said. “First, they will tear down two homes on the west side of Birch Creek Avenue, and then we will plan on tearing down the two additional homes on the east side.”

These demolitions are of houses that the WSU has owned for years. To accommodate for the increasing parking demands on campus, they will eventually get around to tearing down a total of four houses, or annexes, on the avenue.

One of the major changes Downs said he was happy to see from planning stages was the creation of the BRT — or the Ogden Express bus system — which connects one side of campus to the other.

“With the BRT, or OGX system as we call it, we connected the Dee Center and Main Campus, which was something that we were trying to do for years,” Downs said. “That was good, how we were able to connect the dots just recently with this project and have the new bus route connect from the Dee and the Main Campus on our own property and not cut through Taylor Avenue. So, that was a good stroke where we did expand and that was just infilling with our campus.”

Downs described the Davis Campus as where the most expansion is happening. While he is not over the Davis Campus, construction on that campus has been something that he still is excited about.

As for WSU’s main campus, Downs said the most of the building renovations we see are done using the old footprint of the WSU campus.

Downs and his boss, Travis Hogge, campus planning and construction director, who had been involved with Campus Planning and Construction for a dozen years and in the role of director for the past three, are both heavily involved with the changes to the WSU’s Ogden campus.

Hogge oversees all of the campus construction and planning projects, according to Downs.

“The frontage branding along Harrison is coming along well,” Hogge said. “This project has been in the works for a while now involving many across campus. The new signage project is set to be completed in May.”

Downs said he has enjoyed working on the renovation they have primarily done.

“There were a lot of successful renovations that were able to breathe life to the ‘60s era buildings on the campus,” Downs said. “It has been a satisfying job all around, getting to work on new buildings, giving them a facelift, giving them a remodel.”

As far as the carbon neutral goal that WSU has been steadily aiming for, Hogge shared his thoughts on how the different departments have collaborated and worked as a team to achieve this goal.

“Our Sustainability and energy department could speak to this question better,” Hogge said. “CPC (Campus Planning and Construction) does work closely with our sustainability staff in planning construction projects to be sure they align with the carbon neutral goals.”

CPC plans to continue to renovate and work on the campus, doing most of their obstructing work during the summer semesters while most of the student-body is not on campus.

“We have a lot of Construction coming up in future projects,” Hogge said. “Many of those projects are in efforts to meet our campus carbon neutral goals and bring our building infrastructure up to current standards. To continue to beautify our campus and make it a great experience for all who come to WSU.”

Both Downs and Hogge said it can be a challenging balance to keep when it comes to getting these construction plans off the ground and to the point of being finished without disrupting those who visit campus regularly.

“Be patient,” Hogge said. “Sorry for the inconvenience construction can sometimes bring. I know we have a lot of construction on campus at this time, but know that projects have been discussed and planned for the betterment of our campus.”


Editor’s note: This story has been updated, the West Campus Drive was closed from March 18 to March 23.