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The Bismarck Tribune


FARGO — Montana State head football coach Jeff Choate began his press conference this week with a reference to practicing football during the winter in Bozeman, Mont. There's nothing more Choate would like under his tree this Christmas than an indoor football practice facility, among other amenities several top-level FCS programs enjoy.

The Bobcats have a top-of-the-line FCS outdoor stadium that seats almost 18,000. But making a deep run in the playoffs will require them to practice outside in potentially freezing conditions."That's the goal, right? That's the No. 1 goal," Choate said with a grin, while slapping a desk in front of him.

"Keep winning and maybe they'll build us something around here. So there's my non-sponsored but much-needed commercial that will begin every statement I make from here on out."

This Saturday, Choate's Bobcats will take on North Dakota State in an FCS second-round playoff game at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The temperatures are not pretty so far this week in Fargo, but the Bison have armed themselves to deal with it.They have an indoor bubble for practice.

They have the dome when it's not in use, like it was Tuesday for an agriculture show. And soon to come is a proposed $37 million permanent indoor practice facility that will replace the bubble.

Groundbreaking for that project could come as soon as this summer, said NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen.

Bids and proposals for an architect were due last week."We'll go through an evaluation process and hopefully by the middle to end of a December we'll have an architect selected," Larsen said.Larsen said fundraising for the facility is going well.

Montana State announced a 20-year master plan last year that includes an indoor football and track and field facility along with a football administrative and training complex.

Choate, in his third year with the Bobcats, has taken notes with programs MSU has played like Eastern Washington, Weber State, Kennesaw State and South Dakota State. All have made recent facility upgrades.

Rival University of Montana recently completed a $14 million locker room, weight training and meeting room "Champions Center" attached to Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

"It's the next step for us," Choate said. "If we want to be considered as one of those teams, we have to step up to the plate and make financial commitments, too."

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November 28, 2018


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