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Are You Ready for Some Football? And Metal Detectors and Bag Searches?

"Our main purpose of doing this is just to keep our fans safe and keep the game day atmosphere a good one. We want the university to be a happy, safe place."

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This past February, the Idaho Legislature passed the so-called guns-on-campus measure--a law no public universities said they could get behind. But that measure is now reality, requiring Gem State public colleges and universities to make some big changes.

For Boise State University, one of those changes meant spending $190,000 on 50 mobile metal detectors and 75 metal detecting wands, to be used primarily at Albertsons Stadium (formerly Bronco Stadium), to ensure weapons stay away from the field of play.

Though the law allows people with an enhanced concealed weapons permit to bring their guns into classrooms, firearms must be left behind before entering any entertainment venue that seats more than 1,000 people.

"Our main purpose of doing this is just to keep our fans safe and keep the game day atmosphere a good one. We want the university to be a happy, safe place," said Michelle Smith, vice president for Campus Operations and general counsel.

She said fans can expect to see the metal detectors at stadium gates "in phases." Some will be in place for the first home game on Saturday, Sept. 6. By the middle of the season, attendees will be required to pass through the detectors at every entrance.

Much like airport security, detectors may keep guns out but fans can expect delays.

"We're not sure how much longer it will take, because we haven't done it yet," Smith said. "We're encouraging people to come a little earlier. The gates open two hours before the game starts. Maybe just don't plan to show up 10 minutes before kickoff."

Attendance at home games hovers around 35,000, Smith said. In order to keep crowds moving, security will create an expedited line for fans who don't carry bags or who have clear bags that make bag searches quicker.

The metal detectors aren't just for the football stadium. Smith said they're portable, so they can be used at the Taco Bell Arena or the Morrison Center.

Boise State students and fans will be among the first in the country to navigate metal detectors at large collegiate events. Smith said Boise State is one of the first college campuses in the nation to utilize them.

"I don't think there was any intention or plan of doing that before the [guns-on-campus] law passed," she said. "But that's the way things are going at the pros [the NFL now requires metal detection at every stadium and Major League Baseball will have metal detection at every ballpark by 2015]. It could have been the norm eventually, but the state law has propelled this."