Bronco Stadium evolved: Athletics unveils plans for Bronco Stadium expansion

Bronco Stadium evolved: Athletics unveils plans for Bronco Stadium expansion

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Photo courtesy of the Boise State Athletic Department
Photo courtesy of the Boise State Athletic Department
Photo courtesy of the Boise State Athletic Department
Image courtesy of the Boise State Athletic Department

Boise State Athletic director Gene Bleymaier unveiled plans for the expansion of Bronco Stadium, the building of a new football complex and Donna Larson Park, Friday, Aug. 27. The project will cost the school more than $100 million.

First addressed, was the newly purchased property formerly home to East Junior High newly named Donna Larsen Park. This will be home to Ed Jabcoby Track, which is currently circling the football field. Also located there will be places for track and field events and a multi-purpose field that can be used for Boise-area football games. Rows of bleachers will be placed on both sides of the track with a seating capacity of 2,500 each.

Entrances to the complex will be on Broadway Avenue and Warm Springs Boulevard. The Warm Springs entrance will be a replica of the original entrance that was there in the 1920s. Boise State and the Warm Springs Historical District have worked together to recreate the entrance.

Bleymaier, spoke during the press conference about how they plan to lower the current field 9.5 feet once the track is removed. In the north end zone, they plan to add an entire section of seating behind the end zone. There are plans to build a new football facility beneath the north section of seating. The facility would be complete with a new spacious locker room and players’ lounge, a coaches’ locker room, a brand new weight room and training room would be within the facility.

The football facilities are in need of a serious upgrade. Most of them are the originals from when the stadium opened in 1970.

“We’ve probably got the worst locker room, the worst training room and the worst equipment room of any Division 1 program I’ve seen — and that’s not an exaggeration,” Bleymaier said. “Our football locker room, our training room and our equipment room that we still use were built in 1969. Coach Pete pointed out that our football locker room for 105-plus football players has two toilets. I asked Lyle Smith who was here when they built that facility why it has two toilets and he said because he wanted an extra one.”

By removing the bleachers that are at that end of the field, the stadium would net 3,900 seats. A possible upper bowl could be added to the south end, which would fill in that side of the stands, possibly adding a second skybox on the east side. Altogether the stadium would seat 53,00 fans instead of it’s current 33,000.

All of this expansion will cost Boise State a lot of money — money the university just doesn’t have lying around.

“It’s over $100 million to do the whole thing,” Bleymaier said. “We’ve just started our fund raising efforts.”

No timetable has been set for the completion of the expansion, but Bleymaier said that the sooner they are finished, the better.

“Right now, we’re an outlier,” Bleymaier said. “We’ve got the smallest stadium of any team in the top 25. We’ve got the smallest budget of any school by far in the top 25.”

To pay for this enormous expansion, Boise State is relying on the donations from boosters and fans.

“State funding for universities is going to decrease and tuition and fees four our student athletes and our student body is going to increase,” Bleymaier said. “Making up that difference will fall on our season ticket holders, our boosters, the Bronco Athletic Association, our sponsors and our Bronco Nation.”

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