At its August 31 meeting, the Washington State University Board of Regents approved plans to move ahead on construction of a new indoor practice facility for varsity sports on the Pullman campus. Phase I construction on the $9.7 million project began in early October, and completion is expected by summer 2002. Site preparation and infrastructure were completed last spring between Bailey-Brayton Field and Ferdinand’s Creamery.

The facility will consist of an air-inflated fabric structure over playing surfaces to support practice for 14 of the 17 Cougar varsity sports. The primary surface will be a Mondo Track for track and field practice. A roll-out Magic Carpet Turf will be used for other field sports such as football, soccer, and baseball.

The WSU athletic department has launched a campaign to raise private donations to help with Phase I construction. At a later date, Phase II will provide a permanent indoor practice facility.

WSU athletic director Jim Sterk says WSU needs the new indoor practice facility to stay competitive with other northern schools in the Pac-10 Conference. Oregon’s facility has been completed. Washington opened its facility in the fall, and Oregon State’s indoor facility is nearing completion.