The University Of Montana Department Of Athletics announced this week that fundraising for a new $7.2 million  indoor practice facility has entered the home stretch.

image courtesy of UM Athletics
image courtesy of UM Athletics

KGVO spoke to Associate Athletic Director Eric Taber about the facility that will be in what is now called the River Bowl.

“We are in the final phase of the final push of fundraising for an indoor practice facility that will benefit not only our football team but our track teams as well,” said Taber. “This will be for any field sports; soccer, softball, any athlete at the University of Montana will be able to now practice in the depths of winter in a cozy confined space.”

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Taber said the fundraising is always in progress to improve the sports facilities that will help to draw the best male and female athletes to the University of Montana.

“It's been in the planning stages for a long time,” he said.  This is always being worked on here at Grizzly Athletics and being improved, and this the next phase. So we've had a lot of interest from donors in this project, and that's really sped up the process, I think. It's not hard to understand why. We missed the spring season last year because of the lack of an indoor facility, and that was tough. Donors have really stepped up to the plate to get things rolling, and now we're just in the final stretches of fundraising.”

Taber provided the anticipated timeline for the indoor practice facility.

“Well, we're hoping to have this thing done by the spring of next year, so about a year from now,” he said. “This facility is going to be two different things really; in the summer months it will be an outdoor practice facility with an artificial turf field and sprint lanes for our track teams. That'll be right next to a natural grass field for the teams to practice on as well. And then when the winter months roll around, the whole facility will be covered by an inflatable dome.”

Taber provided the cost of the project.

“The full cost is 7.2 million, and we are a good chunk of having that already raised,” he said. “Before we take it to the Montana Board of Regents, we need to have all of that money raised though, so that is that is the final step and that's what we're working on right now.”

According to a press release;

The planned facility includes:

  • Construction of a 110,000-square-foot inflatable multipurpose practice facility on the site of the current River Bowl fields on the north end of the University of Montana campus
  • Removable inflatable structure to provide outdoor training during summer months
  • Permanent structure to house a lobby, restrooms, storage, and mechanical space
  • Football portion of the facility to include a regulation-size, 100-yard artificial turf practice field
  • Track and Field components include four, 150-yard synthetic sprint lanes, two long jump pits, two pole vault bars, and a hammer, javelin, discus, and shot-put throwing area
  • Ability to hold soccer and softball practices
  • Open to all student-athletes at the University of Montana
  • 100-percent privately funded
  • Estimated completion by spring of 2023

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