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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Gridiron Club moving forward, but behind schedule

An exterior shot of the proposed 3,000-seat addition to Memorial Stadium that will include the Gridiron Club.

An exterior shot of the proposed 3,000-seat addition to Memorial Stadium that will include the Gridiron Club.

January 21, 2010

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Kansas Athletics Inc. knows how big the new Gridiron Club will be, how much it will cost and even who will be building it on the east side of Memorial Stadium.

Now it just needs the money.

The effort to add and operate a 3,000-seat club atop the east side of Memorial Stadium so far has attracted nearly $4.5 million in contributions and commitments, said Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director.

The entire project is expected to cost $34 million, and athletics officials have said they would not start construction until they had secured enough money to build the place — a project still formally scheduled to open in 2010.

That window appears to be closing.

“It’s a 10-month construction project,” Marchiony said. “Even if we started February 1st, you can do the math.”

Kansas Athletics continues working with the Ellerbe Becket architecture firm and JE Dunn Construction to finalize designs as originally proposed, Marchiony said.

“We will build it the way we have planned to build it,” he said.

KU unveiled the Gridiron Club concept at the beginning of the 2009 football season, which started with promise before ending on a seven-game losing streak and the departure of Coach Mark Mangino with a $3 million settlement.

A month ago, club memberships — each ranging from $30,000 for five years to $105,000 for 30 years — had amounted to slightly less than $4 million.

“We are aggressively and confidently moving forward,” he said.

The Gridiron Club is to be financed solely by memberships. Benefits for each include a game ticket, food and drink, and a seat in and access to the club.

Memberships could generate as much as $200 million, of which $40 million would go to Kansas University academics and $25 million would finance construction of an “Olympic Village” complex for athletics.

Comments

anon1958 4 years, 2 months ago

It is truly hilarious how much money people flush down the toilet in order to develop even the slightest self perception of prestige and importance. The gridiron club and hundreds similar to it around the nation do not have anything to do with the sport they are associated with, they are a monument to to wealthy people with the odd combination of vanity and low self-esteem.

Good football is not the draw here, the appeal of the gridiron club is to people that are living in a fantasy world where a high price tag for inclusion in a group enables the purchaser to pretend they are aristocrats or royalty.

The state of Kansas really needs to start taxing these kinds of enterprises because they have absolutely no meaningful relationship to the education mission of any university.

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 2 months ago

Just a hint to the Athletic Department of how to raise the money. Name the Gridion club, sell the naming rights.

Like maybe : Applebee's Gridiron Club , after all , it's all in the name. Catch it fast before the money dries up for these restaurant chains. It is coming.

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 2 months ago

If this really works, then a club for the baseball field will be in order. It will be called the Way out in Leftfield Club, and there sure will be plenty to belong to that club.

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rgh 4 years, 2 months ago

If the "big wigs" want those stupid seats then they can pay for them. I'm certainly not. I want to be in the action, not in the stratosphere staring into the sun. I guess it would allow those folks to continue to look down upon us.

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lwctown 4 years, 2 months ago

Amazing what people are willing to spent to watch a meaningless game. I guess if you have the money and thats what you like to do then go for it.

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 2 months ago

Would the Gridiron club allow one to get discounted KU baseball tickets, basketball tickets, football tickets and throw in some Lied Center seats(lots of empTy ones anyway) just for the heck of it.

How about a Deus Ex Machina club for Murphy Hall.?

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KU_cynic 4 years, 2 months ago

The current economy makes fund raising difficult, and the 2009 football season left a bad taste in most KU fans' mouths. So in some ways the difficulties experienced in the Gridiron Club project aren't surprising.

That said, KU has had several false starts on major fundraising projects in recent years. First, a few years ago the Lied Center announced -- to much fanfare -- a challenge gift that if matched would finance a major expansion to the Lied Center. A few months later, the project was embarrassingly abandoned as the matching gifts failed to materialize. Then, a couple years ago the School of Business received a major challenge pledge toward financing a new building. This time the matching fundraising campaign was kept quiet, but the match was not raised by even several extensions of the original deadline, the challenge pledge was not collected, and the project is now offline.

In short, what the heck are KU, KUEA, and KUAC doing starting high-profile fundraising efforts that eventually and embarrassingly appear to end in failure?

It's not merely bad luck. Something is systematically flawed in the fundraising strategies and fundraising personnel at KU.

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jimjones 4 years, 2 months ago

Wow, you really told him. You should print that off and show all your friends at school.

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Keith Richards 4 years, 2 months ago

Puddleglum-You keep saying how it blocks the view, however you apparently base that on having absolutely zero knowledge of what the view is.

I have been on top of the highest observation deck at the Oread Hotel. In NO way whatsoever can you see any portion of the field and this is before the 'gridiron club' is built. So if Lew is building this to block the view of the west side press box from the Oread, so be it.

Grab a clue before you spot off about something you apparently know nothing about!

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Robert Rauktis 4 years, 2 months ago

"Would be $3 million closer if Lew hadn't rewarded his buddy with the head coaching job. I won't support any sports at KU till Lew is gone."

I don't buy ANYTHING with the new plagerized "K" in the logo.

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Ignorant_Yokel 4 years, 2 months ago

I support Lew Perkins!

I'm continually amazed by those who trash Perkins. He's clearly the best thing to happen to KU athletics in a generation.

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puddleglum 4 years, 2 months ago

wow, who would want to spend $4000/game to sit inside a room and watch football on tv? so they can drink beer? oh, I see-when it rains they will be comfortable? except when they trudge back to wherever they parked.

I think I'll just show my support for the team by sitting in the stands and yelling encouragement.

I'll still applaud Lew for blocking the Fritzel Hotel's view. totally hilarious.

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Paul R Getto 4 years, 2 months ago

Wish I had the money to join. Might spend it on something else, but why would we resent the fact that some may want to?

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Armen Kurdian 4 years, 2 months ago

I don't know why anyone would pay that much for a membership, but IF they have done their homework, and IF they have enough commitments PRE-construction, then they can knock themselves out.

'Course, maybe they should just build a new stadium, seeing as to how old this one is.

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beobachter 4 years, 2 months ago

Would be $3 million closer if Lew hadn't rewarded his buddy with the head coaching job. I won't support any sports at KU till Lew is gone.

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macon47 4 years, 2 months ago

do we donate to larry sinks, haiti, or the gridiron club?

everyone is so needful

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FarneyMac 4 years, 2 months ago

Ah, and the bitter have-nots are right on schedule...

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KEITHMILES05 4 years, 2 months ago

Yes, Marchiony we can do the math and it you are going to wait until you have money in hand then it won't happen. Back it up and take a breath. End of subject.

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persevering_gal 4 years, 2 months ago

I would love to support the Olympic Village, but not a dime to go towards building on to Memorial Stadium.

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jmcjike 4 years, 2 months ago

Why would anyone pay that much money for the highest and worst in the house? Are you kidding me?

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