By Brian Murphy and Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho — The state Board of Education has authorized Boise State University to move ahead with the first phase of a project to expand and upgrade Bronco Stadium.
The board Thursday voted to allow the university to start formal planning for the initial phase of the project, which would add 5,000 new stadium seats and cost between $33 million to $40 million.
The university has raised $8.8 million for the project, according to documents submitted to the board.
Boise State athletic officials unveiled plans in August to upgrade the stadium, its facilities and add more seats. The venue now holds 33,500. The first phase consists of "constructing new track and field facilities for bot men's and women's sports at Dona Larson Park, as well as building a new football complex and additional seating at Bronco Stadium."
Among the details of initial phase:
— Dona Larsen Park: running track and throwing areas, football field (synthetic turf), bleachers for spectators, restrooms and press box and parking
— Football complex: locker room and team room, training room, equipment room and weight room, coaches offices and meeting rooms, academic area
— Bronco Stadium: add up to 5,000 new seats in the stadium
This phase also includes moving the track and field facilities to Dona Larson Park. The cost of that project is estimated at $500,000.
University officials say the expansion is critical to keeping the football team competitive as they prepare to move into The Mountain West Conference next season.