OGDEN — The Ice Sheet will be the focus of a consultant’s review with an eye to possible upgrades to bolster Utah’s bid for a return of the Winter Olympics.
The facility, inside the county-owned Weber County Sports Complex on the Weber State University campus in Ogden, hosted curling events during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and other Utah locales. Utah officials are crafting a proposal to host the games again, and in conjunction with the efforts, Weber County commissioners hired a consultant to come up with blueprints to upgrade the Ice Sheet should Utah’s bid succeed.
The upgrades would potentially cost $10 million, according to the county’s agreement with the contractor picked Tuesday, the Elliott Workgroup, based in Park City. But Tuesday’s action doesn’t commit to construction, only crafting of upgrade plans tapping $150,000 provided by the state.
“It does not commit to Olympic Games. It does not commit to expansion,” said Mariko Rollins, director of the Weber County Sports Complex.
Funding to help with any upgrades would come later, tied, perhaps, to Utah’s selection as a host city for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics or as the U.S. nominee to be a host city. “We do not have the funds to finish the project. Those would come in 2024 from the Legislature,” Rollins said.
She said the efforts here parallel efforts by operators of other Utah venues used in the 2002 Olympics to make sure their facilities could accommodate the Games in 2030 or 2034.
The upgrade plans in Ogden will be focused on the Ice Sheet, the larger, northernmost ice rink in the Weber County Sports Complex that hosted curling events in 2002. More specifically, the plans will outline how to add 1,300 seats to complement the 2,300 existing seats, expanding outside the building’s existing footprint, according to Rollins.
Commissioner Jim Harvey said the Weber County Sports Complex is now one of the busiest of the Utah venues used in the 2002 Olympics. Likewise, Rollins said the facility, which hosts curling, hockey and figure skating events and classes, has been experiencing growing use over the years. She hopes for expansion regardless of the fate of the state’s Olympic bid.
Snowbasin ski resort served as another venue in Weber County for the 2002 Olympics, hosting skiing events. Harvey attended Olympic events 20 years ago here in Weber County and remembers them fondly. “To feel that Olympic spirit … I think it’s a positive feeling for our region,” he said.
Many local officials have been aiding in Utah’s efforts to lure the Olympics back to the state.