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Archive for Monday, June 25, 2007

Construction kicks off on football complex

June 25, 2007

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Dirt began flying and trucks rolled into the area south of Memorial Stadium on May 21, the morning after Kansas University commencement ceremonies.

And they haven't stopped yet.

Now, the outline of a major construction project is emerging. The $31 million project will include:

¢ Parking lots on the hill west of Memorial Stadium.

¢ The Anderson Family Football Complex southwest of the stadium.

¢ Two football practice fields southeast of the stadium.

Kansas Athletics Inc. has targeted July 2008 to complete the privately funded effort to consolidate the football program's operations near the stadium.

"They are telling us right now that they are right on schedule and right on budget, so we are very happy with those two things," said Brad Nachtigal, assistant athletic director for facilities and events.

By the start of the fall semester and football season, construction crews plan to be confined to working on the building and the practice fields to minimize disruptions for football fans and KU students.

"Obviously they'll notice the parking lots on the west side, and there'll still be construction south of the stadium," Nachtigal said. "But otherwise Maine Street and student parking will open back up like it was in the early spring before they started the project, so it should be business as normal."

Construction crews have finished hauling dirt and clay from the site. Most trucks coming in now are delivering supplies.

Football complex construction

Brad Nachtigal, assistant KU athletics director for facilities and events, talks about progress on the Anderson Family Football Complex, which will be just southwest of Memorial Stadium.

At one point last week, Joseph Emmons looked up from his porch in the 1000 block of Maine Street and saw three gravel trucks backed up from 11th Street to in front of his house.

"There's also lots of dust during the day and lots of noise, but other than that, it's what you would expect," said Emmons, a retired administrator with the Kansas Board of Regents.

He has no complaints about how the construction is going. His one concern is that the extra parking spaces now on the stadium's west side will create more neighborhood traffic on game days and when full classes begin in August.

Here's an update on the four major areas of construction and how the athletic department plans for things to look:

Massive project at Memorial Stadium beginning to take shape

KU officials say the $31 million Anderson Family Football Complex is on budget and on target to be ready about one year from now. Enlarge video

Anderson Family Football Complex

It's an 80,000-square-foot building that will house all KU's football operations and free up space for other sports in Wagnon Student Athlete Center, which is adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse.

"One of our major goals was to make sure that this building didn't detract from the view of Campanile Hill and the commencement traditions," Nachtigal said.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway had promised that the building would not rise more than one story from ground level. The building's lower level will be below ground.

The building's lower level - about 50,000 square feet - will include a weight room, locker room, training facility and equipment rooms. The upper, main level of 30,000 square feet will include an auditorium and meeting rooms, student support offices and coaches' offices.

Crews are expected to begin laying the building's foundation in the next two weeks.

"As we get to fall and as we go through the football season, you will really be able to see the building rise up out of the ground, see the steel being erected and see the exterior being developed," Nachtigal said.

An aerial view of the land surrounding Memorial Stadium on the campus of Kansas University shows the vastness of an ongoing construction project to erect a new football complex near the southwest corner of the stadium.

An aerial view of the land surrounding Memorial Stadium on the campus of Kansas University shows the vastness of an ongoing construction project to erect a new football complex near the southwest corner of the stadium.

Once the building is finished, crews will add another parking lot and leave the rest for green space to help offset trees that were lost to construction.

"We have a landscaping budget for the project around the building and practice fields, including planting a lot of trees," Nachtigal said.

Parking

Hemenway also promised that all parking spaces in the area taken away due to construction would be replaced.

So far, west of the stadium, crews have carved two new lots in terraces into the hill to help replace 250 spaces lost on the southeast side taken for construction of new practice fields. They are scheduled to be ready in the fall, along with two older lots west of the stadium that will get new asphalt. A newer asphalt lot south of 11th Street also has been completed.

Construction of the football complex building southwest of the stadium has taken away one lot.

Several trees have been removed from the campus surrounding the stadium and Potter Lake to make room for the football complex.

Several trees have been removed from the campus surrounding the stadium and Potter Lake to make room for the football complex.

"Some of that will shake out when we get these lots back (around the football complex in 2008)," Nachtigal said.

With the loss of several parking spots southeast of the stadium to make way for the practice fields and with the construction ongoing this season, the athletic department expects some tailgaters to move west of the stadium to the newer lots.

"We are going to have a lot of parking around the stadium still, and it should be the same atmosphere it was before, and hopefully it will be even better," Nachtigal said of the completed project.

TV production area

Near the northwest corner of the stadium, crews have nearly finished laying a new concrete space for television trucks used to cover games.

"We accommodated the space and the capability for all of the newest HD requests and things like that so we could have the top-of-the-line production here," Nachtigal said.

Practice fields

Two new synthetic turf practice fields will be constructed southeast of the stadium, just north of Spencer Museum of Art. The fields will extend to the north and stop at the southeast edge of the stadium.

The team also will be able to practice on the stadium's field. The parking lot directly east of the stadium will remain intact.

"Certainly having all of this facility close together is going help the football program immensely," said Jim Marchiony, KU associate athletics director. "We feel that to be competitive in the Big 12, we need to be doing these kinds of things, and it will help the program to have all of it consolidated in this area."

Comments

fletch 7 years, 4 months ago

And all it cost was a large chunk of student parking and the further degradation of the Campanile Hill. Thanks Lew.

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gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

Too bad someone couldn't think to spend $31 million upgrading Mallott.

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pity2bu 7 years, 4 months ago

All this construction is being done at the cost of the citizens of Lawrence compliments of the Lew Perkins Family enterage. Okay maybe a small contribution from Auntie Em and Uncle Albert who thought they received a superb education from KU. Well I hope they don't think this is going to help KU have a winning season this year. But it will assist in a Lew Perkins and family salary increase, I mean a ticket price increase.

Oh by the way Lew, you need to spend a little more money for communication technician scholarships. I believe Mangino wore out the last technician last season. It get's pretty rough following Mangino around carrying the transmitter for his head phones and a spare towel. Maybe Cabela's, or the Bass Pro Shop has a BBIIIGGG shoulder harness that Mangino could purchase and carry his own d** headset transmitter while standing on the sidelines.

For you people who think I care to hear your thoughts you are mistaken, I don't!

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samuelisironman 7 years, 4 months ago

All this means is that it will cost KU a lot more money to have a mediocre football team for the next 10 decades.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 4 months ago

What draws football players to a school? A winning coach/program? Or a bunch of new structures?

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Baille 7 years, 4 months ago

Walked aroung the site a couple of days ago. The pictures don't do it justice. They are ruining that whole area.

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JuliansWright 7 years, 4 months ago

Why are people complaining about the cost, it was all given through private donations.

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bluerose 7 years, 4 months ago

everyday i pass there, walking to work on campus up mississippi.

everyday i am afraid to glance over and discover that the old beautiful sycamore tree was found to be "in the way" of the new important football structure. bleh. sports don't make a university better, sorry. who thinks up this stuff? and the new parking? what's doing down for that? filling in potter lake?

amen on that statement re: Malott, gccs14r. its my building and its a blight.

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Bruce Bertsch 7 years, 4 months ago

Lets rip the result before its built. Sheesh, what a bunch of whiners. Obviously, the landscaping won't be completed until the end of the project. Until then, it will look rough. It is not Lew's fault that alums won't pony up for new academic buildings and the legislature won't fix the ones we have.

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Centrist 7 years, 4 months ago

Private donations, 100% eh?

Yeah right.

Double-digit increases in tuition several times over the last few years.

Coincidence?

Nice that there will be better facilities - but why? It's just COLLEGE football, for crying out loud? Why can't these "donors" give money to help with the giant MAINTENANCE problem we keep hearing about ...

Oops, I forgot. College sport is a way to live vicariously for anyone who ever attended and felt they needed to belong to something afterwards.

Get a life, people.

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Baille 7 years, 4 months ago

"what a bunch of whiners"

Whiners? Look, Jack, I don't give a crap what the new "landscaping" looks like. It won't compare to what was lost. There is little green space on campus now - much less since I was a student. Now we are sacrificing what little is left for a football complex? I think that stinks.

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Centrist 7 years, 4 months ago

Depends where the "activities" money comes from.

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DaveR 7 years, 4 months ago

It's horrible.

So they want to "centralize" things? So where do they build the next time they need more? Give them ten or 15 years & they'll need more.

The one thing in Lawrence that deserved preservation was the "empty space" between Strong & the Stadium. Spencer destroyed that on the south side. This will go a long way to destroying it on the north side. A green meadow, ringed by buildings & parking lots, isn't the same.

Where do they build when they need more? "We have to train in sight of that Saturday gridiron, or we just can't train!"

They should have built someplace where they could EXPAND as future needs arose. Now they've trapped us all.

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compmd 7 years, 4 months ago

$31 million. Assuming $10,000 per year tuition, that would pay for the education of 775 students. But the multimillionaire donors are oblivious. They'd rather have their names engraved in quarter inch tall letters on some plaque instead of giving a scholarship to a needy student. Its disgusting and illustrative of the sad state our society is in when we value these football complexes more than education.

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree compmd. Also why improve the stadium if they are gong to move the games to KC?

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lawrencechick 7 years, 4 months ago

Ugh.....What are they doing to The Hill !!!!

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KS 7 years, 4 months ago

Pilgrim says - "Yup. KU Athletics, Inc doesn't get a dime of tax money nor tuition money. The activities fee money it receives was voted on and approved by the student body. I guess you have a problem with that, too."

That is true in a sense, but just curious. How much money would KU Athletics get if is was "NOT" associated with a state funded university? In other words, they exist because of a university. Would people support and donate otherwise? People donate to the KC Chiefs via their ticket prices, but would they also outright give a few million a year to the Chiefs in addition, just to support the cause? Don't think so! KU Athletics is a business and only exits because of KU.

I just don't like seeing the "hill" torn up.

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booze_buds_03 7 years, 4 months ago

I think it will look pretty good. I wonder if any of you incessant whiners with nothing better to do with your time than cry about the hill will be attending any football games. Also can someone actually point out how much of the hill was actually destroyed by the construction? From what I see the new building replaces a parking lot, and the practice fields replace a parking lot/cement surface.

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Baille 7 years, 4 months ago

Then you don't see much, Alcy. Get off the couch and go take a look. You might like concrete instead of grass. That is your prerogative. I am sure the walkways will make it much easier to get the mobility scooter to the hotdog stand. But I and many others think it is shameful to sacrifice KU's character for an ill-conceived shrine to Lew Perkins and the athletic department.

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i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 4 months ago

It isn't going to have Lew Perkins name on it. Unless his name is Lew Perkins-Anderson Family. If you run an athletic program, and your job was to grow the program, would you turn away a $30M gift to expand and better your facilities? If someone said, "we have $30M to donate to you, but we would like to have it used to better the football facilities", would you turn around and say, "no thank you, you need to donate that money to rebuild an office building where fat secretaries type all day or to student scholarships because that is what I think is a priority"? Come on! You wouldn't turn it down. I don't like all of the decisions Lew makes either, but it would be stupid to turn down the $30M for the sake of a little sod and trees. I think everyone is so far away from having the ability to donate $30M themselves, that they can't grasp the concept and see the benefit that KU is getting from this. Maybe you are all just jealous it isn't your name on the front of the new building.

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ramsrevenge 7 years, 4 months ago

FYI-

The Board of Regents in 2002 asked each of the six state universities to develop a five-year plan for tuition. The request was due, in part, to a decline in state funding over time. State appropriations over time had declined from $6,469 per student in 1985 to $5,800 in 2000.

Additional money raised was to provide "enhancements" to the universities and not replace funds cut by the state.

Sharon Billings, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, works in her lab at KU. She says money from tuition increases at KU made her lab possible. In presenting their plan, KU focused on a $50 million gap in funding between the university and the average budgets of "peer" universities selected by the state. School leaders also noted that KU's tuition was the fourth cheapest in the Big 12

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Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 4 months ago

I sure wish that they'd have built everything they need out in Park'n'Ride land and turned the old stadium into a parking lot and/or event arena that could be rented out to earn money for the University.

Did/Does the Athletics Corporation own the land upon which they're building? Are they leaving the spaces they currently occupy? Are they trading for the land? Are they going to use their old space: ...for Bball parking? ...for classrooms? ...for faculty offices? ...for a hotel and convention center? ...as a CokeyColder bottling plant? Should I care about any of this stuff? I suspect that big money college sports will continue to be big and that it will continue to be considered inconvenient and petty to nonsupporters. No big deal...that will ever come to light, anyway!~) I'm really trying not to care that some traditions and old tree friends die for new, improved lip service to tradition and the service of marketing. I really am and I will succeed as my brain continues to be paved as access to the turnpike of progress.

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Eric Neuteboom 7 years, 4 months ago

Okay, here's what I don't get. The AD is spending millions to renovate, improve and glorify Memorial Stadium and the surrounds. Now consider, what's the one big game on KU's schedule for the upcoming season? Mizzou, right? On Thanksgiving Weekend, right? So why in the world would you take your one exclusively nationally televised game (presumably) to KC, and miss the free advertising of the upgrades that the announcers would provide? It's obvious that quality facilities play a major role in recruiting, so why not use every available means to say, to even the casually interested, "hey, we're KU, and we're improving our facilites. Come take a look sometime."

I'm all for KU's football team making these improvements, and maybe I'm just being short-sighted with my outlook (or still just pissed off that they're taking games out of Lawrence), but this seems to be a great opportunity missed for some serious self-promotion.

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Confrontation 7 years, 4 months ago

"Okay maybe a small contribution from Auntie Em and Uncle Albert who thought they received a superb education from KU."

Sounds like someone wasn't smart enough to get into KU. Did you have to settle for K-State, pity2bu?

I think these improvements will be great for the University. Seriously, when are you guys going to realize that this town would be nothing without KU athletics? KU men's basketball is the only thing exciting around here. It brings more people to town than the crappy art displays or boring theatrical performances. Besides, this land belongs to KU. You do what you want with your land, and they do what they want with theirs. Simple (to some of us, anyhow).

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Feverpitch 7 years, 4 months ago

I wish I hadn't taken this fifth year... if I would have graduated in May, I could have walked down the real hill. Not one with a sports complex in the middle of it. Greedy me had to have two majors...

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Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 4 months ago

Confrontation says: Seriously, when are you guys going to realize that this town would be nothing without KU athletics? ---Many people have no interest in watching dudes grind on each other to make money for the man. I know this must come as a shock to you.

KU men's basketball is the only thing exciting around here. It brings more people to town than the crappy art displays or boring theatrical performances.

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Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 4 months ago

That's fine, and funny, Mr_Ramirez. Since "many" is a relative term, I'm happy to live in harmony with your opinion.

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ramsrevenge 7 years, 4 months ago

Mr_Ramirez strikes again!!

Gosh, do I love his comments!

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Confrontation 7 years, 4 months ago

"Many people have no interest in watching dudes grind on each other to make money for the man. I know this must come as a shock to you."

Although I'm sure that you truly do have this interest, it doesn't really matter. Enough people support the football program and bring in more money than most other programs in town.

"Oooh! More people! yay! go team! rah! rah!"

More people means more money for local businesses. You should move to Baldwin City or Tongie if you are looking for more privacy (for your grinding activities).

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Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 4 months ago

Confrontation. You an amusingly mean spirited homo sapien. Thanks for expressing your opinion. I value it as much as you value mine. I'm afraid I am not planning on moving in the near future, though I like Baldwin and will consider it. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm also afraid I will continue to despise the worship of the false god (money) and fail to appreciate the soap opera of professional sports. I will also continue to despise traffic. I don't mean to offend you by doing so but we all have our cross to bear. You can bear yours up your assumptions!~)

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dbegert 7 years, 4 months ago

People, this was going to happen whether you wanted it to or not. KU is woefully behind even lower tier Big XII schools in terms of football facilities and has been for a long time. Here's a little ECON 100 for the academics among ya: public schools get significant amounts of money from sports... football is far and away the biggest money-making of the money-making collegiate sports... multi-million dollar football complexes are the norm for competitive football programs... a football program requires legit D1 talent to compete... legit D1 football players are only going to go to schools that can provide for them... KU can now adequately compete for these recruits due to their construction of new facilities. Don't like it? Support an Ivy League school. Considering how atrocious the project could have made the Hill look, you should be thankful that such skilled planners and architects were assigned to the project because, considering its scope, its impacts (both aesthetic and environmental) are negligible. Want proof? Take another look at the AERIAL PHOTO. I know it must be disconcerting to see the dumptrucks and the exposed soil while driving past, but as you'll notice from the bird's eye view, ALMOST NOTHING THAT DID NOT USED TO BE A PARKING LOT HAS BEEN TORN UP. What's the problem?

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Godot 7 years, 4 months ago

Funny, I don't recall reading about KU going before the zoning board or planning commission to get this new project approved. Where were the neighborhood associations and the mass demonstrations at city commission meetings to oppose this destruction of the hillside at KU and what about the concerns with parking, etc?

Is KU exempt from the arduous city planning process that applies to private individuals and businesses, and are there no codes for football megaplexes?

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Godot 7 years, 4 months ago

"in presenting their plan, KU focused on a $50 million gap in funding between the university and the average budgets of "peer" universities selected by the state. "

The problem with KU basing its request for monetary based on what "peer institutions" receive is that this does not take into consideration the small population of Kansas and its meager economy. I would rather see the calculation that shows what percent of the total state budget each "peer institution" receives, and then compare that to Kansas. That would be a more realistic measure.

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BigDog 7 years, 4 months ago

No the state does not have to go before the city council to get permission to build on state property.

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Bruce Bertsch 7 years, 4 months ago

Godot, you would find that Kansas is a lagerd in the amount of state aid even on a percapita basis. Our esteemed legislature won't even approve proper maintenance of existing buildings. And as the Bigdog said, the state does not need approval to build on land the state owns.

For the non-believers, The anderson Family and Tom Kivisto donated most of the $31 million. Thats private $$$. It does not keep anyone from contributing to the KU Endowment Assn. Who'll be first in line?

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Godot 7 years, 4 months ago

" Anonymous user

moderationman (Anonymous) says:

Godot, you would find that Kansas is a lagerd in the amount of state aid even on a percapita basis. "

1) Stats, please.

2) Per capita is irrelevant . What is relevant is the relationship between the total tax revenue and the total dollars delegated to higher education.

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Kaw Pickinton 7 years, 4 months ago

I saw we ditch the football program and convert the stadium to a soccer complex, the KC Wizards may even move here. The money saved/made could be used to lower tuition and/or spend it on bball, then perhaps we could win a

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Martin_D_15 7 years, 4 months ago

maginosaurous is a HEART ATTACK WAITING TO HAPPEN!!!

he will probably choke on the 3 Big Macs he had for lunch or the XL pepperoni pizza he had for supper.

what a loser.

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