Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Sports facility upgrades expanded

$55M to be spent on Allen Fieldhouse, other buildings

May 8, 2008


With upgrades to the Kansas University football team's facilities nearly complete, attention this summer will return to Allen Fieldhouse and the area around it for $55 million in upgrades, expansions and additions.

The upgrades will be funded in the near term through state bonds, which will be paid back by donations to and revenues from the athletics department, according to documents supplied to the Kansas Board of Regents in advance of its meeting next week. The $55 million plan will supplant a previous plan for $15 million in renovations to Allen Fieldhouse alone.

"In order to attract the best players and make the best fan experience, we need to get started on this plan as soon as possible," associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said.

This is the $55 million will pay for, according to the documents supplied to the regents:

¢ At Allen Fieldhouse, the locker rooms, restrooms, concourses and concession areas will be remodeled. Other mechanical and electrical improvements will also be made. While those improvements were previously known, new to the plan are a connection between the fieldhouse and Wagnon Student Athlete Center and a two-level bridge to the parking garage. The connection to Wagnon will allow for improvements to fire exits in the upper levels of the fieldhouse.

¢ The Horesji Family Athletic Center will undergo some of the most dramatic renovations, including increasing the capacity of the volleyball facility from about 1,300 people to "at least 2,000 people," Marchiony said. The new men's and women's basketball facility will be built as part of Horesji as well, between the existing structure and Wagnon.

¢ Wagnon Student Athlete Center/Parrott Athletic Center, which is between the fieldhouse and the large Anschutz Sports Pavilion, will receive upgrades to locker rooms and offices that had been used by the football team. The renovations will upgrade the space available for sports including softball, soccer and track. Additionally, a second floor may be added to a one-story portion of Anschutz, which would be used for student study and offices.

Donors in recent days have received solicitations to take part in KU's new "Building on Excellence" campaign. Donations to this campaign would likely go to support some of these projects.

Marchiony said these upgrades were necessary for the facilities to stay competitive and maintain their usefulness.

"We feel Allen Fieldhouse is one of, if not the, best college basketball venues in the country. We want to keep it that way," Marchiony said. "In order to attract top-flight players in every sport, we need to make these changes."

So far, plans for the project aren't completed, Marchiony said, though the athletics department has commissioned Arnold Imaging of Kansas City, Mo., to create a video of at least some of the renovations.

No figure was available Wednesday night for how much of the total $55 million had been secured from donors. According to what was provided to the regents, however, "athletics has several pledges and continues to raise funds for this project - no state funds will be spent on this project."


Tony Kisner 9 years, 11 months ago

I think Newcomb is on the right track here. KUAC has nothing to do with the University and is a separate entity. The University has been feeding at the trough for too long. KUAC does all the hard work finding athletes, building and defending vigorously the brand, playing the games. All for what just the free access to class rooms in order to keep the amateur athlete eligible to play in NCAA sanctioned events? So what? I would not blame Lew and the gang if they just moved the KUAC down the street a little bit and set up shop at Baker U. Those guys are hungry for a national championship and will do everything in their power to make things easy. You better watch it KU or else KUAC will be playing sports some place where they are appreciated.

Take_a_letter_Maria 9 years, 11 months ago

And no, I do not support the AD asking for $6,400 for the cancelled banquet.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 11 months ago

It is clear that the excellence and true leadership at KU resides in the athletic department.I do not begrudge them their success, but it is disappointing that so many other aspects of KU, academics and research, don't enjoy the same sort of excellence and leadership.

Roadkill_Rob 9 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately, ever since the Arrowhead game decision, there's been a division between the city of Lawrence and KUAD. I believe the reimbursement was nothing but a smear on the city. The city probably should've been more supportive of the Arrowhead game too, though. I don't think either side has handled it well.It sounds like there should be some minor house cleaning to find people who can compromise and work together on both sides.

Bill Chapman 9 years, 11 months ago

I wouldn't have much problem with this, but like so many others before me have mentioned/ asked/ etc., just HOW much of this $55M is going towards fixing the buildings that are behind in their maintenance (in other words falling apart). > Answer : Zero, Kaput!, Zilch, or just plain none.

justforfun 9 years, 11 months ago

Heck yea! AFH and the other building around it need these upgrades! Sure DTL should pay for the canceled Holidome banquet they are the one pushing so hard for the parade! I bet the local D-town district way way over shot normal biz for the day, so why not pay up!

fetch 9 years, 11 months ago

Easy does it says: "KUAC has nothing to do with the University and is a separate entity. "The athletic corporation is an auxilliary corporation of the University, like the student union corporation, and the research corporation. The University controls the board of directors. The athletic director is answerable to the Chancellor. The NCAA requires that the athletic programs be directly under the institutional control of the University, in a large number of aspects, including recruiting.A separate entity? Yes, but hardly unrelated or not-controlled-by.

Tony Kisner 9 years, 11 months ago

Oh fetch, so young, so optimistic.You are right, the chancellor is in charge of everything, after all he's the boss. At KU like all major State funded Universities athletics is a simple divergence for the students who attend school. Something to do on those slow Saturday afternoons.....

TopJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

They do do that indirectly... If you have a beef, you ought to take that up with Hemminway.... With an endowment of over one BILLION dollars, there's no reason why every student who makes decent grades shouldn't be able to go to KU for FREE for ever and ever AMEN...

DaREEKKU 9 years, 11 months ago

That's fine, we don't need stairs that aren't crumbling to walk on through campus anyway. We don't need new computers or other academic associated tools anyway. The teams won this year so that gives them free reign to rape the students for all they have. What a complete shame......

Jeanne Cunningham 9 years, 11 months ago

It is completely at the discretion of the donors to indicate how the monies are spent. The monies donated to athletics don't go into the general fund. They are marked for athletics only. Many alumni give to the Athletic fund so they are in good standing for prime seats. The academic departments don't have such juicy carrots to offer. The general fund, Endowment funds, etc. are just not as well supported by those with the ability to do so. Until teachers, scientists, artists, etc. can command the excitement that athletes do, it's not likely to change.

Roadkill_Rob 9 years, 11 months ago

It seems like when I went to school at KU, there was constantly an educational building being renovated...most notably, Budig Hall and Murphy. There also seemed to be quite a bit of new construction out on West Campus.Since I've graduated, I've been back on campus and noticed significant upgrades to the Student Union and Wescoe Terrace.I think some of you just like to complain.

termtech215 9 years, 11 months ago

Wow. This blows me away after yesterday's article where the AD requests reimbursement. As a lifelong resident of Lawrence and KU fan, it is disheartening and leaves me "red-faced."

merrywidow033 9 years, 11 months ago

'just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says:In the meantime, buildings throughout the rest of campus will continue to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance funding.'i couldn't have said it better myself.

Newcomb 9 years, 11 months ago

So are you nay-sayers suggesting that KUAD spend less money on these renovations, no money at all, or somehow share the wealth with the rest of the university?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 11 months ago

In the meantime, buildings throughout the rest of campus will continue to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance funding.

GIHAWK 9 years, 11 months ago

Yes it is really getting out of control. The KUAD should help fund educational needs, facilities, salaries etc..because after all aren't they promoting STUDENT-athletes?

Take_a_letter_Maria 9 years, 11 months ago

So let me get this straight.You all are po'ed at the athletic department because they are able to raise the money to do what they need to in order to enhance the university, but not one of you is b!tching at the state for it's failure to provide the funding for the upkeep of the rest of the buildings on campus.

KU_Dude 9 years, 11 months ago

Nice posts Andini, maybe they'll rip out all of the bleachers and add real seats everywhere like the Sprint Center too.

Confrontation 9 years, 11 months ago

The athletic department brings in more money than any other department. Let them do what they want with their dollars. The renovations are necessary to keep bringing in the talent that rakes in millions of dollars. The nerds on here need to get a life. Feel free to donate your money to other departments.

davidsmom 9 years, 11 months ago

Likely, as in public school districts, operating expenses for the University (i.e. faculty and staff salaries, regular facilities maintenance) and capital outlay (new buildings and major renovations) are funded separately. Those both come from the legislature, tuition, endowment revenue, etc. The Athletics Dept. generates its own revenue and its money is not available to be budgeted in the other categories. I, too, am concerned about deferred maintenance, but targeting the Athletics Dept. for criticism is not going to help. I'm at least enjoying what they can provide. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

onrywmn 9 years, 11 months ago

They are spending 55 MILLION dollars on buildings at KU for sports facilities upgrades but can't pay $6400.00 on a banquet that THEY cancelled? Give me a break!

Jeteras 9 years, 11 months ago

Why donate to improve educational facilities for students. That does not entertain the people with the money.

dweezil222 9 years, 11 months ago

Wait... the athletic department asked downtown businesses to cover a $6400 banquet they cancelled less than 24 hours before they announce this?

GIHAWK 9 years, 11 months ago

Why can't that billion dollar endowment be used to upgrade facilities and teacher's salaries?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.