UI requesting approval to loan itself $29 million to begin construction on long planned for arena

ArenaThe UI is not a bank. But they want to loan themselves $29 million? 

BTW, the price for this campus arena has already gone from $30m to $46m in three years. Want to bet that (assuming it’s built) the final price will be close to $60m? Bookmark this page.  

Follow the logic here: 

The University of Idaho wants to loan itself 29 million dollars to begin construction on its long planned for campus arena.  The Idaho State Board of Education is set to consider the request during a special meeting in Boise on Thursday.

The Idaho Central Credit Union Arena is now estimated to cost 46 million dollars.  Funding for the project is slated to come from corporate sponsorships, gifts and student fees.  25 million is earmarked to come from sponsorships and pledged donations.  16 million dollars in corporate agreements and donations has been collected.  The plan also assumes that UI students will pay 18 million dollars for the arena.  The board approved a 30-dollar annual student fee 3 years ago which will generate 9 million dollars for the project.  This plan assumes that the state board will double that fee during its meeting next month providing an additional 9 million dollars.  The request to the board also reveals that UI officials haven’t figured out how to pay for another 3 million dollars in arena costs.

This when the UI enrollment is declining precipitously and they are cutting spending to make up the losses (here, here, and here).  

The request calls for approval of an internal 29-million-dollar loan to come up with the remaining cash that’s needed to start building the arena this Spring.  The “bridge financing” would cover the 9 million dollars in yet to be collected donation pledges and sponsorships.  The internal loan would cover the assumed 17 million dollars in yet to be collected student fees, 9 million of which hasn’t been approved by the state board.  The plan would also cover the 3 million dollars in project costs that officials are still trying to determine how to pay for.  The report to the board states that specific details on how the internal loan would be paid back will be decided by the next president.

Way to pass the buck to the fall guy. 

The 4,000 seat arena next to the Kibbie Dome would be the new home for Vandal Basketball and also host university events.  If the plan is approved officials hope to have the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena open in 2021.

The board has been considering the arena project for 3 years.  The initial proposal estimated that the arena would cost 30 million dollars.  Plans for a UI campus arena date back over 60 years.

The Idaho State Board of Education will consider the plan during a special meeting at 2:30 Thursday afternoon in Boise.  You can read the entire request here https://boardofed.idaho.gov/meetings/board/archive/2019/0313-1419/BAHR.pdf?cache=1552405346224?cache=1552412384624