BOISE - The Idaho State Board of Education has given Boise State permission to add more than 3,000 new bleacher seats to Bronco Stadium and begin work on a new $22 million complex for the football program.
The board approved both measures at its meeting Thursday. The board also approved the contract for new athletic director Mark Coyle, who was hired last week to lead Broncos athletics.
Boise State officials are in the process of the biggest expansion of Bronco Stadium in more than a decade as the team prepares to join the Big East Conference in 2013. As part of change in leagues, athletic officials have made clear the need to add more seats and improve facilities to help generate more revenue and keep the team competitive in the world of recruiting players and keeping head coach Chris Petersen and the rest of his coaching staff on campus.
One phase of the project approved by the board features the replacement of 5,200 bleacher seats in the north and south end zones with 8,500 new seats spread across both areas. The athletic department will pay for that project with a $3.1 million loan from the university that will be repaid with proceeds from three years of revenue generated by those seats.
The existing bleachers will be relocated to the Dona Larsen Park, the future home of the Broncos' track and field teams.
The board also unanimously gave the university permission to begin work on a new football complex, planned behind the stadium's north end zone. The 69,000-square-foot facility will be the home of offices for coaches, meeting rooms, a new Bronco locker room and player lounge as well as training and weight rooms.
Board officials say trustees will likely review financing for the project next year. But the university has proposed a mix of fundraising and selling bonds to cover the costs. The new football complex is expected to be ready for occupation in 2013.
The expansion comes three years after the addition of a new $37 million sky box on the west side. That project added luxury suites, sky boxes and a new press box, boosting stadium capacity to more than 32,000. Another 1,500 bleacher seats were added in 2009.