Boise State Football

Boise State hopes to upgrade Albertsons Stadium soon; new name coming for Taco Bell Arena?

It has been one of the longest-standing items on Boise State Athletic Director Cury Apsey’s checklist, and progress is finally being made.

Apsey said in a recent interview with the Idaho Statesman the school has sought out a local firm to estimate the cost of renovating the lower portion of the east side of Albertsons Stadium.

The intention is to widen the concourses, add and update restrooms and concession areas, plus put in place some form of premium seating to help cover the cost of the project.

“It’s 100 percent possible, and it’s very much needed,” Apsey said. “... The ball is starting to roll, without a doubt.”

Apsey said the school likely will know in the next two weeks how much the project will cost and get a look at plans for what the updates will look like. At that point, Boise State will put together a plan for how to pay for it.

This spring, the blue turf will be replaced, and part of the reason it will stretch all the way to the west side seats but not the east is to accommodate the planned renovation. The pitch of the seating on the east side likely will be adjusted to extend past where it does now, while not removing concrete.

As for a timeline on when the improvements can be completed, that is to be determined, but the optimistic goal is for the 2020 season. That September, the Broncos are scheduled to host Florida State.

“Florida State would be the best scenario, but we have games the two years after that against Oklahoma State and Michigan State, so we certainly want to get it done when our schedule ramps up like that,” Apsey said.

The east side upgrades aren’t the only facility-related changes for the athletic department coming in the near future.

The south end of Albertsons Stadium, which got expanded seating in 2012, will have a slightly new look, as the scoreboard will be replaced by something more modern.

“We’ll have a new video board in the south end before we kick next season, that’s happening,” Apsey said.

The board won’t be much larger than the scoreboard currently in place, as there is no plan to alter the existing structure. The price is covered by the school’s contract extension with Learfield last year.

Apsey said the school is still reviewing its estimates from construction firms regarding the planned baseball stadium on campus. The school acquired the land in December after long negotiations with property owners on the current plot. He said the school has maintained conversations with the group planning to build a new park for the Boise Hawks. Initially, Boise State intended to share it with the Hawks and a potential pro soccer team, but the school later stepped out, planning on building its own facility.

The hope is that something is built by the start of the team’s debut season in 2020, but Apsey said construction would have to start in the next few months for that to be possible. There also have been discussions about using Memorial Stadium for the first season if delays continue.

“The longer it takes, the tougher it is to get it done in time. It needs to be soon, it’s still very possible, but time is of the essence,” Apsey said.

There are “serious discussions” ongoing with one business entity about obtaining naming rights for Taco Bell Arena, Apsey said. The current deal expires July 31. An outside consultant had identified a handful of possible partners, and Apsey said that he is hopeful a deal will be done soon.

Boise State will recycle the turf it removes before placing the new Blue, not sell it as it has occasionally done in the past. The condition of the turf after being pulled up would not allow resale, according to the school.

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.