Wichita Hotelier John Q. Hammons, founder of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, has donated $800,000 to open a museum and renovate the current Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita.
Tuesday's announcement at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame's facility caps a $1.2 million fund-raising campaign and allows final construction of displays and furnishing of exhibits. The building's entrance pavilion will be named the John Q. Hammons Plaza.
"He is a man of enormous enthusiasm, integrity, foresight and heart," said Ted Hayes, executive director of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Hammons, chief executive officer for the Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels, said his experience in business helped him "visualize, analyze and evaluate what can be done and what should be done."
Hammons - who founded the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 - told reporters there are several great sport names in Kansas.
The grand opening of the museum, located in Wichita's Old Town entertainment district, is expected in late fall, Hayes said.
"It is an emotional day for all of us," Hayes said in making the announcement of Hammons' gift.
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame will feature a Hall of Inductees as well as galleries and showcases displaying sports memorabilia and photographs. Also planned is a theater, interactive sports record kiosks and a gift shop.
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, whose mission it is to preserve the history of sports in the state for all generations, was founded in 1961 as part of the Kansas Centennial Celebration.
It has been closed in recent months except for events to raise funds for the new museum.