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Holt Arena to Undergo Major Renovation Project

August 16, 2021

Holt Arena

Idaho State University’s Holt Arena will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation to upgrade the facility and improve the fan experience. The project is being fully funded by an investment from Idaho Central Credit Union.

President Kevin Satterlee made the announcement Monday during his annual Fall Address to faculty and staff. The project will include new seating, elevators, improvements to the entryways, and the addition of donor hospitality suites, club space, and premium seating. Renovations will also improve accessibility at the more than 50-year-old facility. ICCU’s investment will also fund a new and fully branded turf that meets the latest specifications and standards for performance and safety.

“Holt Arena has been home to fantastic moments from our University’s history,” President Satterlee said. “Now it is time for an upgrade, and I can not imagine a better partner to make this happen. ICCU is a partner in the truest sense of the word, and their generous commitment to our success is phenomenal.”

The timeline for the project is approximately two years. The turf is currently being designed and is expected to be installed prior to the Fall 2022 football season. The remainder of the renovations are expected to be completed in August 2023.

“It’s no secret that we love ISU, and this investment shows our commitment to the University and our community,” said Kent Oram, President and CEO of ICCU. “For more than 50 years, the Holt Arena has brought people together for many amazing events. Accessibility is so important and will allow everyone the ability to attend events here. We are proud to make this investment on behalf of our members and team members, many of whom are graduates or students of Idaho State. Go Bengals!”

In 2020, Idaho State celebrated the 50th anniversary of Holt Arena. Over the years, the 12,000 seat venue has been home to University commencements, championship football and basketball games, and concerts. Holt Arena has also been an important venue for the community, hosting high school football games, graduations, rodeos, and more, including a visit by a U.S. president.

Holt Arena rendering
A rendering of the future renovations to Holt Arena seating

“Holt Arena is the most iconic building on our campus, and I am incredibly excited that this tremendous investment will solidify its legacy for the next 50 years,” said Pauline Thiros, ISU Athletic Director. “These enhancements will not only dramatically improve the game-day environment, but are paramount to elevating the program and the experience of our student-athletes. ICCU is making it possible to execute one of the first of many, much-needed major capital improvements to the athletics facilities at Idaho State.”

Holt Arena was the vision of former ISU Athletic Director Milton “Dubby'' Holt, who saw the unique dome as a solution to get more fans to football games by playing at night in a covered arena. The arena, originally known as the Minidome, cost $2.8 million to construct, and was funded through student fees after the student body voted to support the project. The doors opened to fans on September 26, 1970.  

Thiros added that Idaho State Athletics is succeeding with efforts to dramatically improve University facilities.

“This announcement follows the successful renovation of historic Davis Field, now an exemplary venue for outdoor track and field and soccer,” Thiros said. “It comes in the midst of completing several other facility improvements funded by charitable gifts, including locker room renovations for golf, volleyball, football and tennis. We’ve also added a state-of-the-art film room in Reed Gym, and an indoor golf simulator and practice facility. And we are just getting started.”

Last month, the University broke ground on the $11.5 million ICCU Bengal Alumni Center, which is being constructed just north of Holt Arena. The new 26,281 square-foot building will serve as a meeting place and events center for alumni, students, and friends of the University, and will be the home of the ISU Sports Hall of Fame. Construction on the center is expected to be completed by spring 2023.