Boise State

Boise State plans to build own baseball stadium rather than work on Downtown proposal

It has been a saga with twists and turns aplenty, and on Tuesday came the latest — Boise State once again intends to build its own on-campus baseball stadium for its reborn program.

The Broncos will begin play in 2020, their first season since 1980, at Memorial Stadium in Garden City, the current home of the Boise Hawks. In 2021, the school hopes to be playing in its own facility on the southeast edge of campus on Beacon Road.

“We have said all along that we will make the best long-term decision for Boise State, this new program and its student-athletes,” Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey said in a statement. “I’m happy for our team, especially head coach Gary Van Tol — they can now move forward with certainty about their home field and its significant role on our campus today and well into the future.”

A February Idaho Statesman report found that two developers estimated the cost to be $10 to $12 million for an on-campus stadium, and it would take 12 to 16 months to complete.

Boise State’s decision to add baseball two years ago has not come without plenty of unknowns, primarily where the Broncos would play. Initially, there were discussions with the Boise Hawks on a new Downtown stadium. In October 2017, the school announced plans to pursue an on-campus facility.

In March, Boise State said it would play its inaugural season at Memorial Stadium, then acknowledged in April it was back in discussion with the Downtown stadium developers. Under that plan, Boise State would pay up to $360,000 annually for 25 years to share the facility, with some perks, including its own locker room for baseball and soccer. However, those plans are on hold, and a vote may be held in November on whether the city should move forward with the project.

“The prospect of prolonged uncertainty in the development of a municipal ballpark makes it prudent for the university to move forward with constructing its own facility in time for the spring 2021 collegiate baseball season,” Boise State Interim President Martin Schimpf said in a statement.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter previously had stated his support for the Broncos and Hawks to team up on the project with Greenstone Properties. Chris Schoen is a partner. Greenstone declined comment Tuesday.

“It’s unfortunate (the Broncos) aren’t going to be a part of the project. We think they would be a good fit, but they’re not necessary for it to go forward,” Boise city spokesman Mike Journee said. “Mr. Schoen’s previous proposal was really about creating a new field for the Hawks and a soccer facility and bring a new soccer team into town.”

Boise State will play its first game Feb. 25, 2020, at Washington, then open a four-game series with Northern Colorado on Feb. 28 to start an 11-game homestand.

Idaho Statesman reporter Hayley Harding contributed to this report.

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Dave Southorn is a 2004 graduate from the University of Colorado. He has covered Boise State athletics since 2005, and worked at the Idaho Statesman since 2013. He’s won multiple Idaho Press Club awards and once won a contest designing a play for the Seattle Seahawks.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.