Topeka A House committee Thursday rejected Kansas University's bid for $17.5 million in bonding authority to build apartments for basketball players.
State Rep. Amanda Grosserode, R-Lenexa, called the project "incredibly extravagant."
State Rep. Allan Rothlisberg, R-Grandview Plaza, said he thought KU's sports enterprises were wealthy enough to build the project on their own.
A motion to approve the bonds by the House Education Budget Committee failed on a 3-5 vote.
Earlier, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said the apartments, planned to be built near Allen Fieldhouse, were needed as a recruiting tool and to monitor and protect student-athletes from professional agents.
KU is seeking authority from the state to issue bonds for the building, which would be paid off by the university. Of the 66 apartments in the building, 32 would be for student-athletes and 34 for students who are not athletes. The project would also include a commons area, kitchen, parking lot and half-court basketball court.
The committee's recommendation against the $17.5 million in bonds will next go to the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Earlier Thursday, KU fared better before another committee in seeking state assistance to build a new $75 million health education building at the KU Medical Center.
Gray-Little told legislators that the Medical Center needs the facility to train more physicians and maintain accreditation.
"The state has a doctor shortage, and the University of Kansas is the only institution in the state that can address the doctor shortage," Gray-Little said.
Nationally, Kansas ranks 39th in doctors per capita, she said.
The current facilities to train doctors are out of date and can't be retro-fitted, Gray-Little told the House-Senate State Building Construction Committee.
"Our Kansas facilities are at capacity, but they are also antiquated and considered entirely unsuited for a modern medical curriculum," she said. "Our facilities just don't fit the way that medical education is delivered now."
Committee Chairwoman state Sen. Kay Wolf, R-Prairie Village, asked, "It is an accreditation issue, is it not?"
Gray-Little replied that it was. "It is a question of the quality of what we are able to offer," she said.
Of the $75 million cost, KU has authority to issue bonds for $35 million.
Of that amount, KU wants the state to pay $15 million through a multiple-year appropriation of $1.4 million per year. The committee recommended approval of the $1.4 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
KU is also requesting $25 million from a FICA refund. The refund stems from a long-running dispute dealing with Social Security and Medicare withheld from paychecks of former medical residents. The remaining cost of the building would be funded through private funds and gifts.
Gray-Little said if all the pieces were approved by the Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback, KU could start construction within a year and have the facility opened in time for the 2017 school year.