The Indoor Football Facility: When Will It Happen?

The Indoor Football Facility: When Will It Happen?

It was the first phase of a project that you knew was coming sooner or later. The NDSU indoor football practice facility unanimously got through the budget and finance committee of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education on Tuesday. The big hurdle is next week when the full board will get a say, although the fact the entire $37.2 million will be privately raised by NDSU leads you to believe it should be more of a formality, especially with UND having already built one.

NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen did not want to address the project in detail, yet, saying he would prefer to wait for the approval process to play out first. He must have done some research on the confusion and headaches past Bison athletic administrations have had with elected and appointed state leaders. There’s no question the NDSU athletic department has to lay low in the weeds when it comes to proposing big-money projects, even if they are entirely externally funded.

There are a few questions yet to be answered, like the exact location. Will that large of a structure fit within the framework of the western-most practice field south of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex? Will the road immediately to the west of the practice fields have to be moved farther west? (Update, an NDSU spokesperson says the road will “tentatively” stay but they are not certain yet since there are no firm or final drawings). With locker room space included in the proposal, does that mean NDSU football will have two locker rooms? Will the weight room be a supplement to the training space in the SHAC or will that be the exclusive home to football weight training? How tall? What kind of artificial turf? Will there be garage-type doors to open it up during nice weather? Where will the statue of Craig Bohl go? The fact a figure as precise as $37.2 million has been pinpointed leads you to believe a lot of details have already been hammered out.

The big question, of course, is timeline. A shovel will not be going into the ground next month, but my guess is it won’t drag out, either.

“The formal fundraising for the NDSU indoor practice facility would begin after receiving approval from the State Board of Higher Education,” said Sadie Rudolph, the media relations coordinator/university relations for NDSU.

Most if not all of the funding needs to be secured first, but the football program is one where the big-cash donors have a willingness to give. The popular theory points to Carson Wentz (the AO1 Center?), but he’s still in his first contract and there are plenty of other lead-type donors out there. Perhaps if Carson gets a Kirk Cousins type of deal some day he could be in the ballpark, but probably not now. I’ll put it out there right now: Construction will begin in the summer of 2019.


View Comments (15)


  1. random fan

    May 16, 2018 at 9:43 am

    The team has won titles 6 out of 7 years and are asking for $35 million for a practice facility when they have a bubble and a dome. Seems a bit much.

    • Jeff Kolpack

      May 16, 2018 at 11:53 am

      Bubble was slated for a 10-year life span and the dome hosts too many events to be able to consistently practice there.

    • Dom's Agent

      May 16, 2018 at 11:54 am

      I understand what you’re saying but it’s all about looking to the future and keeping up with and improving facilities compared to peer institutions.

  2. Bison fan

    May 16, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Bubble was a short term thing. Need a full indoor practice facility to keep up with others to the north and south of who already have them. Will allow for more flexibility with all the sports

    • random fan

      May 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      I get that, but at what point is enough. The facility is not needed, and with a cost of $35 million it seems steep. Ultimately it will not be my money so it doesn’t matter, but with tickets and TM donations increasing, this team is getting very expensive to cheer for as is. This is at the end of the day FCS football, not P5.

  3. BisonJeff(FgoMhdJeff)

    May 16, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    This is needed especially if we are ever going to move up a level in football. The great thing is that this would put the Bison ahead of the other FCS schools because they would have many sports with their own facilities. Not multiple sports trying to use the same space which was the case with the BSA. I’ve said it before what other FCS school could do this: Garth Brooks in the Dome for a week, football team has road games but can still practice outside or in the yet to be built and named IPF or even the Bubble. Have a wrestling tourney at the Scheels Center and the basketball teams would be on the road but could practice in their practice facilities. You could have a Volleyball tourney at Bentson-Bunker Field house and an indoor track meet at the indoor track. Baseball, softball and golf could all practice in the IPF, in the bubble or in the indoor track facility.. The baseball team plays at the top of the line in FCS Newman Outdoor Field, Softball just got a new venue with turf. Women’s Soccer plays on turf. Golf just opened a new 2,500 square foot indoor chipping and putting facility. The Bison football team just got a locker room upgrade, all other sports have new locker rooms and all new weight rooms. All new training facilities. The Bison would have three 100 yard turf fields to practice on with the Fargodome, the IPF and the Bubble. NDSU is flexing their muscle with facilities not to mention the $4.2 million Teammakers raised in 2017. These are some of the major reasons the Bison football team has won 6 of the last 7 FCS titles, Spring sports have been dominant and women’s soccer has been very good. Basketball has had a great run and Volleyball and Women’s basketball seem to be making a comeback…Things are looking good. Go Bison!i

  4. bisonbill

    May 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    What would happen to Dakota Field/The Bubble in the future? If it has a 10 yr. lifespan, does it get replaced, too?
    And as for talk of “moving up a level” in football, dream away…………….the dome is too small and there won’t be any conference invitation.

    • Jeff Kolpack

      May 17, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      The bubble will go away, making it a 12-month soccer facility.

      • bisonbill

        May 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm

        OK; so during Dec/Jan/Feb, the soccer team will practice on Dakota Field, with no bubble??
        Seems like it be more practical to replace the Bubble for the interim……

    • BisonJeff(FgoMhdJeff)

      May 17, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Bisonbill, not dreaming at all. I’m not talking about a move to the the Big Ten or Big 12. I’m talking about when the power five conferences go on their own and the Group of Five conferences combine with the top FCS schools. It would be a definite influx of quality football programs. We would need these things to compete for top recruits if we want to keep up the dominance in football. No dreaming just a fact.

      • bisonbill

        May 17, 2018 at 8:59 pm

        You say no dreaming, just a fact…..??
        Pure speculation on your part and I don’t think you have the future sequence that MIGHT happen correct.
        So many variables. Group of 5 combine with top FCS?? Why? What is in their interest to do that? Why would Miami (OH) want to play NDSU, Montana, or Sam Houston?
        They can’t afford a home and home set up, nor would they want to pay the FCS to come and beat them at home.
        ‘splain to me…………please

        • BisonJeff(FgoMhdJeff)

          May 18, 2018 at 1:42 am

          That is what most ADs, College football experts locally and nationally feel is going to happen. Kolpack Izzo, Former Bison AD Gene Taylor and current NDSU AD Matt Larsen have all said they feel this could happen. I’m no expert but i feel they would have a pretty good idea. Is that ‘splained good enough Ricky RIcardo? Why so negative Bill? I never understand guys like you.

          • bisonbill

            May 18, 2018 at 9:06 pm

            I am actually a very positive guy, despite your so called “analysis” of my comment.
            Please re-read, and then digest what I typed.
            You and I can be optimistic about NDSU moving up all we want, but there isn’t any way the Group of 5 wants to play MVCF teams, esp. NDSU. They have nothing to gain from playing the Bison.

  5. BisonJeff(FgoMhdJeff)

    May 17, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    After the IPF is built as long as you have the bubble and its paid for why not use it. Is there such a thing as too much practice space during winter months when you have Men’s and Women’s Golf, Men’s and Women’s Track & Field, Softball and baseball teams looking for a place to practice?

    • BisonJeff(FgoMhdJeff)

      May 19, 2018 at 8:28 am

      I agree t that they wouldn’t want to play us but what if the NCAA siad that the top 20 FCS programs could move up to the level of the group of Five? I agree we will never be Power five at least in my lifetime. I just hope if we were to move up to FBS that they would go to a playoff system. Go Bison!

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