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MSU continues to raise money for planned indoor practice facility 

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Graphic shows interior of indoor practice facility. IMAGE COURTESY OF KAREN CANTRELL/ MSU ATHLETICS

Facility would provide consistent practice spaces away from seasonal weather challenges 

By Jen Clancey DIGITAL PRODUCER

In order to maintain training routines and enhance the student-athlete experience, Montana State University’s Athletics Department is working toward construction of a new, $25 million indoor sports practice facility on campus. The building will be climate controlled and energy efficient, and construction could finish by the end of 2024. 

Proposed along South 11th Avenue, near Bobcat Stadium and the Bobcat Track and Field Complex, the 120,000-square-foot building will include 100 yards of turf for football and multi-sport training and a 300-meter indoor track, as well as space for field events.

Both features will bring track and field and football athletes indoors when conditions outside are unsafe and unsuitable for practice. “This one is really out of necessity,” said Director of Athletics Leon Costello. He explained that as the football season reaches November and December, practice conditions can get dicey as the Bobcats prepare for playoffs. 

 In 2022, the Bobcats ended their season on Dec. 17 with a loss in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinal game to the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits. FCS playoffs run until mid-January, a time that isn’t quite suited for non-snow sports. 

“It really became evident pretty much every year that we go to the playoffs in football … and we’re practicing in weather that’s just not conducive to practicing,” Costello said. 

He explained that ensuring a safe environment and providing practice space for all Montana State teams is essential.

The track and field team usually practices in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse—which has its own track—but they are often moved to other spaces due to conflicting events. “The field house gets used for basketball games, concerts, trade shows, all these things,” Costello said. “So now they’re going to have a consistent spot where they can go practice and compete with very little distractions and conflicts.” 

According to Costello, the Bobcat Athletic Complex, completed in 2021, has helped tremendously in streamlining athletic programs’ needs like treating injured athletes and providing spaces for strength training all in one spot. He views the incoming indoor practice facility as an important and exciting next step because it will support more consistent routines on and off the field. 

“All of our facilities are geared towards making a [student-athlete’s] day as simple and consistent as possible,” Costello said. “What we try to do is really compact their day so once they’re done, they can go on campus and do all the things they need to do as a student.”

He explained that a focus on student needs and wellbeing is a common theme at MSU. “A lot of [new campus developments and facilities] are geared towards providing the best experience we can for students while they’re here,” Costello said. “And that’s what this is all about. It’s about growth. As Bozeman is growing, our campus is growing, our athletic department is growing.”

Costello hopes to meet the needs of MSU Athletics’ own growth alongside the community and described how the facilities align with the goals of the athletics department.

“We want to develop champions—in competition, but also in the classroom. If they have the resources that are here to help them accomplish those two things, we feel like we’re accomplishing our mission.” 

The practice facility will be privately funded, which isn’t unique for developments in athletics, Costello said, but means that the athletics department is working to fundraise for the space. In mid-November, MSU Athletics announced that they were $3 million short of a $25 million goal. Since then, donations have brought that remaining total to $2 million. 

Costello thanked donors for their support. The project is expected to break ground sometime in the spring or summer once the fundraising total is reached.

“We’re out, asking for donations from our supporters and people that support MSU athletics,” Costello said. 

As for the future of athletics spaces, the department hopes to expand on inclusion of other MSU extracurricular activities, and Bozeman events at large after meeting the needs of the athletics department. 

“My philosophy has been if we’re going to have this building, we don’t want it to sit empty, so when we get done with all of our practices … Why not use it and make it available for people in the community,” Costello said. 

“That’s been our goal from day one.”

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