WSU opens new sports complex

(Photo by Tyler Brown)
(Photo by Tyler Brown) Community members gather with Waldo the Wildcat and cut the ribbon. This event opened up the Weber County Sports Complex.

Weber State University held a ribbon cutting Tuesday to dedicate the new Marquardt Field House, a part of the Weber County Sports Complex adjacent to the Dee Events Center. Community members and students had the opportunity to see the new expansion, view the new indoor football field, and strap on ice skates to experience the new ice rink.

Before the ribbon cutting, Ron McBride, Spencer Eccles, Jerry Bovee, Annette Marquardt, Rod Arquette and Meg Naisbitt spoke about the new sports complex and all it can offer WSU students, athletes and community members.

Bovee, the WSU Athletics director, spoke about his involvement since beginning the process, and recalled sitting in the home of Bob Marquardt, who ended up being one of the principal donors for the project.

“He and Coach McBride and I were talking about needs, and this came up that there was a need for an indoor facility,” Bovee said. “At the time, it just wasn’t economically feasible to do it. But when we had the opportunity, when the county wanted to expand their footprint with the ice sheet and create newer ice, we had the opportunity to work together on a facility that would meet both of our needs.”

After the ribbon cutting at 6 p.m., WSU students and community members had the chance to participate in free skating and curling on the ice rinks. WSU student athletes also provided demonstrations on the indoor football field.

“The athletic director and coaches that have walked through are just amazed at the quality of the facility,” said Mark Halverson, WSU campus planning and construction director. “It is unlike anything else in our conference. Recruiting student athletes and the program and the ability to train has expanded to a whole new level because it’s not conditional upon weather. The athletic facilities pretty much raise what the athletic trainers and coaches are able to do.”

The new facility will aid campus athletic programs and Campus Recreation by offering scheduled access to the building for artery programs and student recreation soccer programs, among others.

“I can foresee academics having a place here, being able to do some things academically here that we don’t have access to right now,” Bovee said. “So we are going to work with HPHP (human performance and health promotions) on campus to see if there are connections they would like to be interested in. I think at some point we will open this up; once we know what our routine will be, there will be demand from the general public and community to use this space, since it is such a unique space.”

Previously, the ice sheet contained one rink; with the renovation, it has two rinks, weight rooms and an indoor football field.

“This sports facility is going to be here forever for the city of Ogden,” said Bev Rudd, director of special events at WSU. “The facility has so many things for the community and for WSU. It is such a great partnership with the county that it’s just a win-win building for everybody.”

This expansion,  a partnership between the university and Ogden County, cost a little less than $10 million in total, $3.2 million of which WSU has invested.

“The sports complex is a beautiful new facility, and it is done in partnership with Weber County . . . I don’t think the county could have done it alone, and I don’t think that Weber State could have done it alone,” said WSU President Charles Wight. “But when we get together, we can really make beautiful things happen. That’s what’s really special about this project.”