Students may have noticed a few additions to the intramural sports field next to the Student Union Building on campus. Most obviously, there is a full, 7-foot-tall fence lined with black fabric to mask 100-plus college football players. The Boise State football team has temporarily seized the field for fall practice, replacing the grass and making drastic improvements to drainage systems, only to later return the area to Boise State students.
After receiving a donation of just over $300,000, Boise State athletics worked with the Student Recreation Center to provide the Broncos football team with a safer place to practice. In exchange, the athletic department allowed campus recreation to use the Caven Williams Sports Complex. Both sides benefited from a renovated field and major improvements needed to be made.
The team will use a practice field next year that the program has priority for, following the demolition of the Applied Technology Building and Mechanical Technology Building, which were both planned to be demolished already by the university. Demolition is planned for January and construction of the new field is expected in March, April and May with the field being usable by August.
“The deal was we would renovate the field, and get it back to better shape than what it was, fix the drainage issues, and once the new field gets built we can turn it back over to the students,” Associate Athletic Director of Facilities and Operations Bob Carney said. “For the last year and a half (campus recreation) has had free use of Caven.”
The intramural field and all of its new renovations will be returned to students on Nov. 1 and campus activities will take place (on occasion) on the new field because of a stipulation set by the sole donor.
Primarily, the intramural field was used to prevent injuries during the off season, according to Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen. Grass is notoriously less damaging on a players muscles and joints than turf.
“The turf we make work and it’s good and you get awesome traction, but when you’re on it for a long time it’s nice to be on grass,” Petersen said during fall camp.
While fall camp wastaking place, the Gene Bleymaier Football Complex was still receiving its final touches before the start of the fall football season. By next August, the Broncos will have a completed football complex and practice field. The estimated cost of the new practice field is $1.9 million, most of which will be paid by the university, not the athletic department.
Since the athletic department took on most of the renovation costs of the intramural field, the university will pay for most of the new field with the help of athletics donations.