(Editor's note: Montana State University news release)
BOZEMAN — Montana State University's Bobcat Athletics program moved a step closer to gaining a new indoor practice facility this week when the Board of Regents gave approval to the project.
The project is $3 million away from its $25 million fundraising goal and will be funded entirely with private dollars.
"I want to thank our donors for getting us to this point. Projects like these don't happen without tremendous support, and we certainly have that at MSU. Now is the time to cross the finish line and reach our fundraising goal," said Leon Costello, MSU director of athletics. "We need everyone in Bobcat nation who is interested in contributing to this impactful project to help us get there."
On Friday, the Montana Board of Regents voted unanimously to allow MSU to proceed with the project.
The new, 120,000-square-foot facility would be a dramatic improvement for Bobcat student-athletes, in both the quality of their training and their safety, Costello said.
"It is essential for our student-athletes who compete and train outdoors to have space 365 days a year. We have expectations of deep FCS playoff runs and need training space for indoor track season and spring football practice, all of which occur during winter weather months," Costello said. "Our student-athletes are training around the clock and competing against the best nationally. We need training facilities to support their continued success, regardless of the climate."
The new facility will have 100 yards of turf for football practices, a 300-meter indoor track and areas for field events such as throws and jumps, providing MSU's student-athletes a safe and protected place to train during periods of harsh weather.
"Our student-athletes give us their all when they play for Montana State, and we know that Bobcat nation wants them to practice safely and in a facility that can help them perform at their best," said MSU President Waded Cruzado. "The private support we've had from Bobcats thus far has been incredible. I know they can help take us across the finish line for the benefit of all our student-athletes."
The proposed site for the new facility is south of Bobcat Stadium and west of the Bobcat track and field complex along South 11th Avenue. The planned design is a steel-framed building that will be fully insulated, climate-controlled and energy-efficient. Pending material availability, construction is expected to be complete toward the end of 2024.
In addition to the primary use by Bobcat football and track and field teams, both of which practice primarily outdoors, the facility will be open to all MSU student-athletes, as well as plans to include access for campus and community groups.
The new facility is the next step in MSU's larger Athletic Facilities Master Plan, which was developed in 2017 and also included the construction of the Bobcat Athletic Complex at the north end of Bobcat Stadium. The BAC, which opened in the fall of 2021, includes spaces for student services, strength and conditioning and athletic training, as well as a clinic made possible through a partnership with Bozeman Health.
The new indoor practice facility will be focused on excellence in performance, Costello said. Crucially, it will provide the only indoor facility at MSU where the entire Bobcat football team can practice at the same time.
"This facility is all about training and getting physical work done," Costello said.
Having a new indoor facility for the track team to practice and compete in will allow for more flexibility, as the indoor track and field season overlaps with those of men's and women's basketball – teams that also practice and compete in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. The Fieldhouse is also a sought-after venue for concerts and trade shows.