Flaming 'W' to be installed

A donation from Weber State University Campus Stores could mean the university will have a new iconic landmark as early as next summer.

To celebrate its 100-year anniversary, Campus Stores will make a donation dubbed the “legacy gift” to fund the purchase of a 9-foot-high and 15-foot-wide boulder that will be etched with a flaming ‘W’.

“All of our staff, we’re just ecstatic over the idea of giving something back to campus that was more physical,” said Amber Robson, marketing manager for Campus Stores. “We want people to know we’ve been around for 100 years, but we’re also looking into the future and something that would benefit future students and faculty and staff.”

The idea for the boulder was originally conceived a few years ago when the clock tower plaza was renovated. It might have been placed then, but there was no funding for it, said Norm Tarbox, WSU vice president of administrative services.

“It’s one of those ideas we thought would be real cool,” Tarbox said. “This looked liked another opportunity.”

The boulder will be placed near the top of the stairs in Tracy Plaza between the Shepherd Union Building and the Browning Center, with the flaming ‘W’ facing what Robson calls the doorway of campus — the paid parking lot.

“We wanted a ‘W’ on campus that everyone can see,” Robson said.

Robson and Tarbox both said they expect the boulder to be an attractive and memorable spot for students.

“We hope that every student that graduates with a degree wants to have their picture taken in front of the flaming ‘W’ on the rock,” Tarbox said. “That’s something that we think would strengthen the bonds between student and campus and institution.”

Tracy Plaza will undergo other renovations to replace dated irrigation and landscaping, Tarbox said.

“Tracy Plaza is an area that has been on our list for quite some time,” Tarbox said. “It makes sense that, as we try and establish this legacy gift for the bookstore, that we take the opportunity to renovate the broader Tracy Plaza area as well. It’s a partnership of sorts between Campus Stores wanting to do something special for the university and our facilities management department needing to renovate an area of campus.”

The renovation is just part of an ongoing effort to replace old irrigation and plantings, Tarbox said. Since Robson was a student, she said the campus has changed significantly by adopting landscaping that embraces the surrounding mountains.

“I think we’ve really brought that whole kind of mountainside concept into the campus that we never had before,” Robson said.

The plans for the renovations are still in the early stages and there is no definite timeline or cost for the project, according to Tarbox.

“What we’ve got right now is a pretty picture,” Tarbox said.

The project will be funded from multiple sources, Tarbox said. Campus Stores’ investment is one example of how they invest revenue back into the students, Robson said.

“We don’t work alone on this campus,” Robson said. “We’re a partner. We want to stay integrated.”