OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University has opened a brand new Wildcat Center that offers 20,000 square feet of additional space to provide students, faculty and community members the latest fitness experience.
The new facility came with a price tag of more than $8 million, and Brady Harris, executive vice president of the student association, said the idea for the center came from students four years ago.
“Students came to student government, to the student body president four years ago, and said, ‘We need a new gym,'” he said.
Teri Bladen, director of campus recreation at Weber State University, said students made the project a reality.
“It was a necessity, and the students recognize that,” she said. “And it was a student initiative, and they were the ones that made this happen."
Bladen said student leadership worked with administrators to get the project financed.
“It’s an $8.5 million project, and the students took the leadership of it, and they owned it, and they're paying for it, most of it,” Bladen said. “There are some other support avenues, but it is a student project."
The center was financed with an increase to student fees. Construction crews broke ground on the facility in the winter of 2012, and the work was finished Wednesday. The expansion includes an elevated pedestrian walkway, a suspended track, two exercise studios, strength training areas and locker room facilities.
Project manager Chad Downs, Weber State facilities management, said the finished product is a blend of old and new.
“It really activates the old gym, and with this new gym it's pretty seamless the way the architects were able to integrate the design,” he said. “I don't know if you'd be able to tell by looking at it where the old ends and the new begins."
Harris said he is glad to see the project completed.
“I think it’s incredible,” he said. “I've been in with the project since student government started in the first, and just seeing that dream that we had four years ago and seeing it today, I mean it's amazing. It's incredible. It's like having a dream come true for me."