Idaho Vandals

University of Idaho delays arena presentation to State Board

The University of Idaho has delayed its pursuit of State Board of Education approval for a new basketball and entertainment arena to give the board more time to examine the project finances.

The U of I withdrew the arena project from the agenda for this week’s meeting in Boise, a university spokeswoman said via email.

“The Board has indicated they will consider the arena project request at a special board meeting perhaps in mid-March,” spokeswoman Jodi Walker wrote.

The university says it has accumulated $40 million for the $48.5 million project — a combination of fundraising (including $10 million from Idaho Central Credit Union for naming rights), student fees and university resources. The school hopes to double the fee students pay for the arena, currently $15 per semester, to close the funding gap. The increased fee would require State Board approval at its April meeting.

The university wants to break ground on the unique, wooden building this spring and unveil it for the 2021-22 basketball season.

U of I President Chuck Staben said the arena has been his “top fundraising priority” since he arrived in 2014. This is his last semester as president. Idaho’s basketball teams play most of their games in the Kibbie Dome.