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ExtraMile Arena is now being used to host several in-person lecture classes

Photo by Mackenzie Hudson

From hosting concerts to providing in-person classes to students at Boise State, ExtraMile Arena has focused its efforts on accommodating students this fall. ExtraMile Arena has transformed from an entertainment establishment to a learning center for students. 

ExtraMile Arena has been working with Boise State’s Office of the Provost to ensure student and faculty safety while allowing students to experience in-person classes as they have never experienced. 

McQ Olsen, associate director for marketing at ExtraMile Arena, said the idea behind ExtraMile Arena opening for in-person classes was to give students the option for an on-campus experience. 

According to Olsen, as Ada County’s COVID-19 cases increased, Boise State needed a space to host in-person classes. ExtraMile Arena and Boise State’s Office of the Provost worked together to create socially distanced seating and utilize the arena’s full capacity. 

“We saw a need and we thought that we could fill it,” Olsen said. 

ExtraMile Arena is being utilized to host several University Foundations (UF) classes, which are mostly comprised of first-year students. Olsen believes this creates a great opportunity for students to become more familiar with Boise State campus in their first semester.

Without sporting events, ExtraMile Arena has been converted to host socially distanced classes.

“I think it’s really cool that some of these students that are brand new to Boise State have the opportunity to start and end their career at the arena. To have their first class there at the arena, and then eventually walk at commencement in the arena, I think that is really special,” Olsen said. 

ExtraMile Arena hosts 25% of all in-person classes at Boise State. During the week, ExtraMile Arena hosts 35 class sessions, totaling to nearly 4,100 students in attendance throughout the week, according to Olsen. 

Boise State has designed the arena to hold two in-person classes simultaneously. To ensure social distancing, ExtraMile Arena has blocked off certain sections of seating. Signs have also been put in place to encourage students to wear facial coverings, which is consistent with other campus signage. ExtraMile Arena conducts focus cleaning, according to Olsen, which is full sanitation of high-touch areas such as seating, handrails, elevators, restrooms and other high traffic areas.

To make a smooth transition to students, ExtraMile Arena has posted to their website a full schedule of all in-person classes, as well as the mandatory health and safety protocols. 

According to Boise State’s reintegration guide, all in-person classes will transition into remote learning after Thanksgiving break. Olsen is uncertain whether ExtraMile Arena’s facility will continue to host in-person classes in the spring. 

“The building itself, I don’t think that anybody knows the status of what’s going on from there. I think from this point we take it one day at a time,” Olson said. “I think that it’s important for us to be flexible and to be nimble, and to respond to the needs of the Boise State campus as much as we can.”

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