The Bubble Indoor Track Facility at WSU
The Bubble at WSU. Photo Credit to Geoff Crimmins of the Moscow Pullman Daily News.

The Washington State University Track and Field team will be hosting the 2017 Cougar Indoor Invitational track and field meet this weekend at the Indoor Track Facility building, commonly referred to as the bubble. While the building has been around for nearly fifteen years, it wasn’t actually expected to stand that long when it was first constructed.

The structure was completed and opened at the end of 2002, after being approved for construction in 2001, at the cost of $9.7 million. It was meant to be a temporary facility instead of constructing the planned brick building that would have cost $14 million.

WSU has discussed replacing the facility in the past, including a Board of Regents meeting in 2015 to discuss whether the building should be replaced with a more permanent facility. Yet the bubble still stands as a building that was supposed to be a stopgap until something better could be constructed, but has now been in use for nearly fifteen years.

In the article, written for the Moscow Pullman Daily News, the Senior Associate Director of Athletics at WSU, John Johnson said that “The footing for the facility and air-supported structure was constructed with the thought of a permit building being installed in its place”.

Like Johnson, many people in the WSU community expected the bubble to be replaced more quickly including some people on twitter who posted about a replacement as far back as 2013. That year, the Cougar Athletic Fund became more aggressive in showing the plans for not just constructing a new facility to replace the bubble, but other improvements to things like the Soccer Complex and Baseball Clubhouse.

With the WSU Athletic Department struggling with a budget deficit, the bubble may hang around for longer than many people would like. For now, the bubble will continue to stand and host WSU track and field events and meets including the 2017 Cougar Indoor Invitational this weekend.