Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Building that will house original “Rules of Basket Ball” will be called the DeBruce Center

April 17, 2013, 5:39 p.m. Updated April 17, 2013, 6:13 p.m.


The future home of James Naismith’s original “Rules of Basket Ball” on the Kansas University campus has a name, donations covering more than half its cost and an expected time for construction to begin: later this year.

The KU Endowment Association on Wednesday announced the chief donors for the new student center that will house the rules: Paul and Katherine DeBruce, two 1973 KU graduates who live in Mission Hills. The new building, which will connect to the northeast corner of Allen Fieldhouse, will be named the DeBruce Center.

The DeBruces asked for the amount of their gift to remain private, but it plus some other contributions collected so far have amounted to “well in excess of 50 percent” of the center’s $18 million cost, Endowment Assocation president Dale Seuferling said.

“It’s a major or leadership gift that funds a significant portion of the project, that allows us to be within reach,” Seuferling said Wednesday afternoon.

Plans are for the Endowment to construct the building entirely with private funds, then hand over ownership to KU after it’s complete.

Paul DeBruce founded DeBruce Grain of Kansas City, Mo., and Katherine DeBruce worked for the Kansas City Star and in several capacities at Kansas City Public Television.

"This entire project is made possible through the generosity of KU's friends and supporters. Thanks to Paul and Katherine, the DeBruce Center will be an outstanding place for the KU community to gather and will provide the university with a space to welcome visitors and fans," KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a release.

Seuferling said the goal is to start construction later this year, though he declined to predict when the center might open.

Plans are beginning to come into focus, though. The center will have three floors and 31,000 square feet, the Endowment announced.

The building’s centerpiece, Naismith’s original basketball rules, will likely be located on its second floor, where the building will connect to the second-floor concourse of Allen Fieldhouse, Seuferling said. Surrounding the rules, and lining the walls of the walkway into the Fieldhouse, will be other exhibit materials celebrating the history and tradition of KU basketball, he said.

“The rules will serve as a prominent beginning for the exhibit space, and obviously a big tourist attraction,” Seuferling said.

The exhibits in the Booth Hall of Athletics at the Fieldhouse’s east entrance will expand up some stairs into the second-floor concourse, he said, where they will connect with the DeBruce Center’s walkway.

Planners also envision a small theater that will show videos on KU basketball history, as well as a retail space for KU memorabilia and clothing. Elsewhere in the center will be restaurant and dining space, a possible coffee shop area and meeting and event spaces.

It will provide a much-needed gathering space for students and faculty in an area of campus where a new School of Business building is on the way and School of Engineering facilities are expanding, Seuferling said. And, he said, it should also be popular with KU basketball fans before and after games, school groups, tourists and groups or KU departments planning special events or dinners.

“It will be a very popular place,” Seuferling said.

KU alumnus David Booth and his wife, Suzanne Deal Booth, of Austin, Texas, purchased Naismith’s original basketball rules at an auction in 2010 for $4.3 million and offered to display the document at the university.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year ago

And park where? KU memorabilia and overprice T shirts. get real!

Will the DeBruce and Booth family endow a fund to maintain their monument?


Clark Coan 1 year ago

Big mistake. They could build a world-class a National Basketball Hall of Fame which would be a big tourist draw and destination place. But no, spend $18 million on something rinky-dink. No vision once again right here in Larryville.


James Kirk 1 year ago

I had a good idea what the comments would be when I clicked on the title of the story.

This place sure doesn't disappoint me.


Curveball 1 year ago

I'm pretty sure "Basket Ball" was invented by Naismith while he was still in Massachusetts and then brought to KU. The Booth family bought the Rules with their own money and that's there business. But why can't the Rules be put in one of the display cases inside AFH at ver little cost? Some people just have too much time and money on their hands. That money could be used in a better way. Same goes for the Dole Center.


Leslie Swearingen 1 year ago

Forgive me, but this is the rules of basketball we are talking about, not the original Ten Commandments.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year ago

DeBruce facility, 18 million.... Rec Center ....25 million. 7million difference.... Big deal... Either thevDeBruce facility is ho hum. Or the Rec Center is really, really special!

All of the fine documents at Spencer Research library and Podunk 66044 dotes on basketball rules.

And even the Booth family bought a condo at The that really status?

It's their money but in the long run no one will care .

Just look at Elizabeth Watkins gravesite sitting just yards from a City Mausoleum in derelict repair!


TNPlates 1 year ago

While I'm glad the rules will reside at KU, the amount of money paid for them and the building that will house them is obscene. $22 million dollars for the whole package just to so a few papers - as historic as they may be - will be housed for people to come see them. There's no way $22 million dollars worth of visitors will come see them - so it's a good thing folks like the DeBruce's and Booth's have more money than they need to get their name on a building.

For those of you who'd like to see a reasonable facsimile of the rules for a reasonable price - $9 plus tip will buy you a hair cut AND a view of a color-copy of the rules at Downtown Barber (you can even see them without getting your hairs cut). I'll bet John didn't pay more than $15 to frame and display them, either. With this fiscal frugality, it's too bad he's not an Associate AD at KU.


john douglas 1 year ago

Really? $18 million? I'm a KU Basketball fan but $18 Million?


irtnog2001 1 year ago

"KU alumnus David Booth and his wife, Suzanne Deal Booth, of Austin, Texas, purchased Naismith’s original basketball rules at an auction in 2010 for $4.3 million and offered to display the document at the university."

$18 million will be spent to house something KU doesn't even own? What will happen if the Booth family falls on hard times and asks for its return? Seems like something similar happened to the KC Art Institute awhile back. Is there a back-up plan?


Jeff Kilgore 1 year ago

Call it what you will! It's a great thing that the university rightfully has Naismtih's rules! Thanks to the generosity of the DeBruce and Booth families! If possible, use a small portion of the money to use a heavy digger to transplant the beautiful trees!


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