BOISE — Both Boise State basketball teams will host their regular-season home finales this week. When they return to Taco Bell Arena for the 2014-15 season, fans may see the venue in a new light.
With an outdated video and sound system, especially compared to neighboring Bronco Stadium, Taco Bell Arena is the next frontier for facility improvements. Boise State has received estimates for a new video board, sound system and LED signage courtside and between the first and second levels of the arena.
Weve got a list of things weve got to focus on, and those are the top, Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle said. Its a priority for us. We definitely want to make some adjustments.
The video board that hangs above center court was installed at the same time as the sound system prior to the 2001-02 season.
You look around our conference, and were behind from that standpoint, Coyle said. Weve got to address those things now Ideally, well have it in place next season.
A potential hurdle, as usual, is cost.
Coyle said he does not want to take on more debt. The school is trying to pay off the $22 million Bleymaier Football Center and the Stueckle Sky Center, but noted fundraising efforts are under way to help arena upgrades.
Still sorting through estimates, Coyle did not have a specific number on the potential cost, though the No. 2 team in the nation had a similar upgrade prior to this season. Wichita State added 180-square-foot high-definition screens and a new sound system last summer for $1.8 million. Bronco Stadium got a 2,100-square-foot HD screen and new sound for $1.5 million in September.
Its doable we were able to move pretty quickly when we got the go-ahead, and were hoping we can do that again, Coyle said.
Boise State mens basketball coach Leon Rices eyes are fixed on the floor, which is a new one installed this summer, but he is an advocate for a visual upgrade on the screens above him.
I hope we can keep upgrading it, because its a great place to watch a game, Rice said. We need to give the fans a better experience, and new screens would absolutely be a big part of that.
Upgrades like the $3 million Arguinchona Basketball Complex in 2011 and a new floor and signage in the practice gym this winter have been a boost for players. Next is something Coyle hopes helps players, potential players, fans and NCAA Tournament officials.
We want 18-year-old kids to say yes to Boise State, and weve done things like build the Arguinchona Complex, upgraded the auxiliary gym, Coyle said. Those are some of the behind-the-scenes that help our program that the fans dont see. I want to make sure we do things that are more visual that help us get those kids and that help our fans.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_Southorn