In a news release distributed to the local media Thursday, Boise State University officials announced they “will not be a part of the proposed downtown stadium project,” currently being planned for downtown Boise.
“Instead, University officials plan to construct a collegiate baseball stadium on or near campus,” the release said.
The University has been open about its interest in the idea of a shared downtown stadium since 2015, but Boise State President Bob Kustra said that in the end the question came down to the most efficient use of public dollars: It became clear that a long-term lease would be less financially prudent than a project that Boise State could either build or lease to own, according to the release.
“As a baseball fan, I support efforts that boost baseball in Boise -- and give our community a chance to enjoy the sport for years to come,” Kustra said. “I wish the Hawks and the City of Boise the best in moving forward. But my primary responsibility as university president is to make the best choices for the future of Boise State.”
Boise State officials say they have been open to the idea of a downtown stadium because of the opportunities it could provide for collegiate baseball —- but that no arrangements had been finalized. The downtown stadium project remained one of the options the University was pursuing -- until this week. University officials called city leaders and others to tell them personally of the decision.
“We are in the middle of the hiring process for our baseball head coach, and an on-campus stadium will be a major selling point -- both to the individual we ultimately hire, and to the future student-athletes that will be recruited to Boise State,” Athletic Director Curt Apsey said.
We reached out to Boise State officials, but they declined additional comments.
In a prepared statement, Mayor David Bieter said, “Boise State would have been a natural tenant for the Boise Sports Park, so we are disappointed to hear that Agon Sports and Entertainment and Boise State were not able to reach an agreement. However, our independent analysis shows that the Boise Sports Park could be highly successful without Boise State as a tenant. We are excited by the continued interest of the Boise School District and the other possible users of the sports park -- and will move ahead with the process to ensure that the project is a good fit for its neighbors and for the city has a whole. We wish Boise State baseball and women’s soccer a successful future.”