College Sports

Idaho Vandals plan new $30M arena for basketball, volleyball teams

This rendering depicts the plans for the Idaho Arena, an athletics facility for the University of Idaho’s volleyball and basketball teams.
This rendering depicts the plans for the Idaho Arena, an athletics facility for the University of Idaho’s volleyball and basketball teams.

The University of Idaho announced a plan Friday to build an arena for its basketball and volleyball teams.

The new facility, called the Idaho Arena, will have 4,700 seats and cover 70,000 square feet, according to the Friday morning news release.

The arena is expected to cost $30 million and will sit on the north side of the Kibbie Dome. It will provide a space for the women’s and men’s basketball teams and volleyball, as well as extra space for non-sporting events, such as academics and concerts, the university states.

“A modern, stand-alone arena puts our athletics program on a better footing in Division I athletics. It will allow us to recruit student-athletes that help us consistently contend for championships in basketball and volleyball. An adaptable facility also provides the flexibility for a wide range of other functions, including concerts, conferences and other programming for students and the community,” university President Chuck Staben said in a statement.

The arena has been part of a 47-year-long discussion, according to UI. Donors have contributed $13 million to the project, and the student body has agreed to be assessed fees, according to the news release.

In launching a public phase of the fundraising campaign, Staben wrote Friday that “we plan to ask the State Board of Education for approval to plan and bid the construction in February 2017’’ and he hopes “entering freshmen in fall 2017 will cheer on the Vandals in the arena during their senior year.’’

Erin Fenner: 208-377-6207, @erinfenner

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