Arena plans moving forward at U of I

Steve Sinovic//March 20, 2019

Arena plans moving forward at U of I

Steve Sinovic//March 20, 2019

An artist’s rendering of the exterior of the planned ICCU Arena on the U of I campus.
Images courtesy of the University of Idaho

The Idaho State Board of Education voted unanimously March 14 to approve the University of Idaho’s funding request to build the planned $46 million Idaho Central Credit Union Arena.

As part of the financing package, U of I officials asked the board to allow the school to loan itself $29 million from reserve funds to cover initial construction costs, according to a news release from the board.

Under that plan, the money will be paid back to the fund through gifts, pledges and increased student facility fees.

In April, U of I will request the board approve the fee increase, which would double from $30 to $60 per year, raising approximately $17.5 million over 35 years.

ICCU has donated $10 million to help fund the facility, giving the organization the arena’s naming rights.

The project is contingent on approval from State Board Executive Director Matt Freeman after consulting with the new U of I president, who will be named sometime in April.

“We think the new arena is a great project,” board president Linda Clark said. “We also think it is important that the new president has an opportunity to review the project and provide input.”

The university hopes to build the 4,200-seat arena by 2021.

An artist’s rendering of the interior of the future ICCU basketball arena.

“The ICCU arena is much more than a basketball arena,” said Chuck Staben, president of the University of Idaho, in a news release. “This unique facility represents an essential addition to our residential campus, offering a gathering place for students, athletes, faculty, staff, alumni and friends for generations to come.”

Staben also thanked ICCU and the “many donors and partners whose support will make the arena a reality.”

“The arena will be a game-changer for Vandal basketball and will benefit our student-athletes and our athletics program,” said Pete Isakson, interim athletic director, in a news release. “The state-of-the-art arena will provide a teaching facility and the best game atmosphere in the Big Sky (Conference) while also acting as a recruiting showpiece.”

The mass-timber construction of the building will feature wood products designed by Idaho’s forest industry.

Opsis Architecture of Portland, Oregon, is the architect and Hoffman Construction of Portland is the general contractor.

A ground-breaking date is pending.