Athletes and sports fans alike will benefit from the $3.2 million upgrade of the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse

Athletes and sports fans alike will benefit from the $3.2 million upgrade of the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse arena that begins in May. The renovation calls for a complete new running surface, upgraded seating, new sound system and venue curtains.

Track athletes who will train and compete on the new state-of-the-art surface are not the only ones benefitting from the arena upgrades, according to Duane Morris, director of the Event Services Division for Auxiliary Services at MSU. Sports fans and patrons will appreciate upgraded seating in the lower level seats on the north and south sides of the arena complete with backrests and cup holders. 
“It’ll be a whole new game day environment,” Morris said. 
Morris said that because the current arena floor is cracked and peeling, a wooden floor had to be laid down before each indoor track meet for the athletes’ safety. “Replacing the floor is critical for the safety of our athletes and patrons,” Morris said. “The new floor will allow our athletes to train and compete on the same world-class floor.” 
MSU head track and cross-country coach Dale Kennedy is excited about the impact the floor will have on training, competing and recruitment. 
“We’ve got a great track program with 97 athletes on the roster,” Kennedy said. “This new floor will positively impact cross-country as well as indoor and outdoor track programs.” 
Kennedy said that the blue and gold alternating lanes will look beautiful, and the 16 millimeter Mondo Surface is the latest material for indoor running surfaces. 
“The current surface has been there since 1980 and really should have gone out along time ago,” Kennedy said, citing the high risk of injury. “Training was compromised by the old surface.” 
Facility operations staff will have the ability to separate the upper level of the arena through the installation of a state-of-the-art curtaining system used in most NBA arenas. 
“This will offer a more intimate environment for events including basketball games,” Morris said. “The curtains offer flexibility as to how we use the space, and they are amazingly efficient. Within minutes of finishing a basketball game, the curtains can be raised to allow for other activities.”
Originally built in 1957 with student building fees, the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse is an iconic building in the Gallatin Valley. It is used as a site for graduations, convocations, athletic competitions, sporting events, Montana youth programs, expos and major concerts.
“The new arena floor, seats, sound system and venue curtains will help us better meet the multi-purpose uses of this building,” Morris said. “And the new sound system will deliver a clearer sound with equal coverage throughout the arena.”
Brick Breeden offices will remain open during the renovation and no events were cancelled, although some were relocated. 
“This has been a great example of sharing resources and accommodating different groups with different needs,” Morris said. “Everyone has worked together to make this as seamless as possible, and we will take similar steps next fall to shift events to the fieldhouse and other facilities while the SUB ballrooms are renovated.”
In March the Board of Regents of Higher Education authorized funding to upgrade the arena. The Associated Students of MSU will contribute $1 million to the renovation. The remaining funds will come from athletic-donated funds and net Auxiliary Services revenues and from revenue generated from building user charges. The money contributed by ASMSU is from student building fees designated for maintaining campus facilities. Using these funds will not increase student fees.