Univerity of Idaho arena rendering

Rendering of proposed new ICCU Arena at the University of Idaho

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:

The Idaho State Board of Education unanimously approved a University of Idaho request to raise the approved cost of the coming Idaho Central Credit Union Arena by $5 million during a board retreat Wednesday in Boise.

Board President Debbie Critchfield, and board members Andrew Scoggin and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra were not present for the vote.

The increase covers a finalized construction estimate that is $3.3 million higher than the previous estimate of $46 million approved by the board in March, as well as a $1.64 million construction contingency fund, bringing the full cost of the project to $51 million.

UI has about $17 million on hand and plans to finance the remaining $34 million of the project through bonds and pay the debt over 35 years with increased student facility fees, fundraising and donations.

The university must still request the board consider and approve its financing plan before bonds can be issued. That request is expected to be made at a later date. Crews are expected to break ground on the new basketball arena in June, with the building completed by September 2021; it will be an engineered wood structure.

The arena — a project that dates back 50 years — will hold more than 4,000 seats for men’s and women’s basketball events, a practice gym, a conference space sponsored by the UI Alumni Association, coaches offices, locker rooms and a 32-by-12-foot scoreboard above the court.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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