Bronco Stadium
Bronco Stadium is the home field of the Boise State Broncos of the Western Athletic Conference. Since 1997, the Humanitarian Bowl (the "MPC Computers Bowl" from 2004”“06) has been held at the stadium, the longest-running outdoor bowl game in a cold-weather venue. Bronco Stadium also serves as a track & field stadium; it has hosted the NCAA track & field championships twice, in 1994 and 1999. The stadium is used extensively for local high school football. Bronco Stadium is widely known for its unusual blue playing surface, installed in 1986 as the first non-green playing surface (outside of painted end zones) in football history and remains the only one among NCAA Division I FBS schools.

Bronco Stadium is located at the east end of the BSU campus, bordered by Broadway Avenue to the east and the Boise River to the north. The elevation of the playing field is 2695 feet (821 m) above sea level.

Bronco Stadium is the third venue of the same name at Boise State; the stadiums were built in 1940, 1950, and 1970, respectively. The original "stadium" was near central campus and used through the 1949 season for junior college football (photo - 1940s). In the 1950s it became the baseball field, until right field was displaced by the present Student Union Building, which opened in 1967. (The baseball field moved slightly east, then north, until ultimately eliminated in 1980 by the construction of the BSU Pavilion and the relocation of the tennis courts.) The second Bronco Stadium was opened in 1950 at the east end of campus, with wooden grandstands and a running track. It was in approximately the same location as the present stadium, but aligned northwest to southeast. (photo - 1964) Through 1969, the University of Idaho Vandals usually played one home game per season in Boise, at the first two Bronco Stadiums. After Boise State joined the Big Sky in 1970, Idaho discontinued its practice of scheduling home games in Boise. The Boise College football program upgraded to NCAA college division (later renamed Division II) in 1968 and the new $2.2 million concrete stadium opened in 1970 with a seating capacity of 14,500. The first game at the third Bronco Stadium was on September 11, with a 49”“14 victory over Chico State. The original playing field was green AstroTurf and was configured in the traditional north-south direction. For its first five seasons, the stadium consisted of two sideline grandstands, the west side having an upper deck and the press box. (photo - 1971) Following the 1974 season, an upper deck was added to the east side (photo - 1971) - (photo -1975), adding 5,500 seats as well as symmetry to the stadium. The permanent seating capacity grew to 20,000 for its Bronco Stadium's sixth season in 1975, with up to 2,600 temporary seats available in the north end zone seating for bigger games. The original green artificial grass was replaced with the same in 1978 as the Big Sky Conference and the Broncos moved up to the newly formed Division I-AA. (photo - mid 1980s) The Broncos moved to the Big West and Division I-A in 1996, which resulted in another stadium expansion. The two-tier grandstands were extended around the corners of the south end zone, raising the permanent seating capacity to 30,000 in 1997. The latest stadium expansion was completed in time for the 2008 season, with the addition of the Stuekel Sky Club press box, luxury suites, loge boxes, and club seating; raising the capacity to 32,000. In the summer of 2009 1,500 additional bleachers were added to the south end zone to bring the stadium's capacity to 33,500. During its eleventh season, the field was named Lyle Smith Field during the I-AA national championship season of 1980. Ceremonies during halftime of the 14”“3 victory over Nevada on November 8 marked the event. It honors Lyle H. Smith, the head coach from 1947”“67 and athletic director from 1968”“81, overseeing BSU's rise from the junior college ranks to Division I-AA champions in 1980. Smith led Boise, as BJC, to multiple post-season bowls, including the 1958 national junior college championship, and compiled an overall record of 156”“26”“8 (.848), which included five undefeated seasons and 16 conference titles. He was also the baseball coach for 17 seasons and served as basketball coach for a season at the school. Smith hired Tony Knap to replace himself as football coach in 1968. Bronco Stadium's current attendance record is 34,137, achieved on September 25, 2010, a victory over Oregon State televised on ABC. The field was used by video artist Matthew Barney, in the first of his "Cremaster" videos.

Blue Artificial Turf
Bronco Stadium is best known for its distinctive blue playing surface, the only non-green football playing surface among Division I FBS programs. Chris Berman of ESPN has also called Boise's turf "The Blue Plastic Tundra," a joking reference to "the frozen tundra" of Lambeau Field. Another nickname for the surface is " Smurf Turf." Players refer to it simply as "The Blue." After 16 seasons of playing on standard green AstroTurf, BSU Athletic Director Gene Blaymeier came up with the idea to install the blue turf. He decided that, if BSU was going to spend $750,000 on a new surface, he didn't want to see BSU install yet another green field, and that a blue field might provide the school some notoriety. Blaymeier gained the support of BSU President John Keiser, and in 1986 Bronco Stadium introduced its unique playing surface to the world. BSU replaced the first blue AstroTurf with the same in 1995, then with blue Astroplay (a grass-like synthetic surface that is more forgiving than traditional AstroTurf) in 2002. The AstroPlay field lasted just six seasons and was replaced in the summer of 2008 with blue FieldTurf surface. Due to complaints by fans that the reflection and glare off the field gave the new field a dull and uneven shade of blue, FieldTurf agreed to replace the field free of charge. The fifth blue turf was installed in the summer of 2010. The unique blue turf has spawned several myths. The most prevalent myth is that the NCAA subsequently banned playing surface colors other than green, but allowed Bronco Stadium's field to remain blue under a grandfather clause. In reality, the NCAA has never adopted such a rule. Any school may color its playing surface (or any part, mainly the end zones) any color it wishes. Indeed, other schools have non-green football fields including the University of New Haven (blue) and Eastern Washington University ( red). Five high schools also have non-green fields: Barrow High School in Barrow, Alaska, Lovington High School in Lovington, New Mexico, West Hills High School in Santee, California, Hidalgo High School in Hidalgo, Texas, and New Braunfels (Texas) Canyon High (red). Another myth is that, mistaking the blue field for a large body of water, birds have flown into the blue turf and to their deaths. Although Broncos coach Chris Petersen claimed to have found a dead duck on the field in 2007, the origin of the duck on the field has never been confirmed. The NFL has recently banned any other playing service colour than green naming the rule the "Boise Rule" in reference to the university.

Current/future expansion
As the Boise State football program rose to national prominence in the early 2000s, Bronco Stadium became increasingly insufficient. The school completed a new 3-story complex on the stadium's west side, the Stueckle Sky Club (pronounced Stickle), that features levels for a new press box, luxury suites, loge boxes, and club seating (in descending order) and which increased seating capacity to 32,000. The practice facility, named the Caven-Williams Sports Complex, officially opened in February 2006, is located immediately northwest of Bronco Stadium. Construction began on the Stueckle Sky Club on February 11, 2007, and it officially opened on August 27, 2008 with a gala for ticket holders prior to the first game on August 30. Additional temporary seating of 1,500 was added prior to the 2009 season. The removable bleachers increased Bronco Stadium's capacity to 33,500. In late August 2010, new expansion plans were revealed for Bronco Stadium. The first stages will include adding a new facility to the north endzone, which will house the football offices, weight room, training room, equipment room and locker room. This would also include a 13,200 seat grandstand. The later stages of the expansion plan include: removing the track, lowering the field, and adding 3,300 seats in front of the first deck of the stadium; completing the south endzone horseshoe; building an east side skybox; and renovating the east side concourse. The expansions may be divided up into as many as six phases. The total cost for all planned expansions is around $100 million. The total seating capacity for a fully-expanded Bronco Stadium is estimated to be around 53,000. The Boise State athletic director aims to have the north endzone complex open in time for the 2013 season.

Home dominance
During Boise State's recent streak of conference championships, Bronco Stadium has proven to be a tough place for opponents. As of December 4, 2010, the Broncos are 77”“2 at home since the 1999 season with the only losses being to Washington State in 2001 and AP #18 Boston College in the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl. The Broncos have not lost a home conference game since the season finale in 1998 (46 in a row). They never lost a home conference game during their 10 years as a member of the WAC (40”“0). The Broncos are 74”“1 in regular season home games since 1999 and are currently on a 62 game regular season home winning streak.

Building Activity

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