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City Hall

Column: Think unique in naming new rec center

May 8, 2014


Earlier this week, Lawrence’s city commissioners settled on three finalists in their quest to name the city’s new recreation center being built adjacent to Rock Chalk Park, where Kansas University soon will house its track, soccer and softball programs.

If there’s any justice, being constructed next to KU’s newest sports facilities will be where the similarities end.

The three finalists include two names that are nearly the same and one obvious choice. They are: Lawrence Fieldhouse, Lawrence Freedom Fieldhouse and Lawrence Sports Pavilion.

While the reason for wanting to include the word “fieldhouse” in the name is obvious and clearly done to pay homage to Allen Fieldhouse, one of college basketball’s great venues, it’s entirely unnecessary to go down that road.

First, regardless of how big of a role KU and its basketball program play in this community, Lawrence has much more to offer than just the university and this should be looked upon as an opportunity to celebrate all things that make Lawrence great, not just one thing. It seems the commissioners get that because they appear to be adamant about keeping Lawrence in the name. Good move.

Second, what’s being built in the northwest section of town, by definition, is not a fieldhouse. It’s more like a field mansion. At 181,000 square feet, it’s far bigger than any fieldhouse I’ve ever seen or heard of. And judging by the blueprints and specs — which look incredible, by the way — its name should appropriately convey its massive size. Like “pavilion.”

Finally, let’s not overlook the inevitable confusion that might come with Lawrence Fieldhouse. (Here’s hoping Lawrence Freedom Fieldhouse comes in a distant third).

“Where’s your team playing its basketball tournament this weekend, Tommy?”

“The fieldhouse.”


“In Lawrence. At the fieldhouse.”

“Oh, Allen Fieldhouse? That’s pretty cool.”

“No. The other one.”

In time, conversations like that would dissipate (I think). But why even allow such headaches to enter the equation in the first place?

Allen Fieldhouse is a wonderful facility and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating it, taking pride in its existence or even hanging outside of it for hours while waiting to get into a basketball game. But so much of Lawrence already revolves around KU basketball. Why add another item to the list?

If these three suggested names truly are the city’s final choices, Lawrence Sports Pavilion has to be the pick.

See you at LSP.


Eric MacDonald 4 years, 1 month ago

I absolutely concur. Of those three option Lawrence Sports Pavilion is the only choice. Keeping the name short and simple lends itself to adding the name of a future corporate sponsor as well.

Chris Hanna 4 years, 1 month ago

In the spirit of East Coast sporting venues in Boston and New York, how about "The Lawrence Garden"?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

No matter how illustrious city hall wants to make it it will always be known as Rock Chalk Park simple as that.

KU and City Hall need to come together and work that out. "Rock Chalk Tax Dollar Moneyhole".

The three chosen names don't impress me much as unique.

Lawrence Morgan 4 years, 1 month ago


I would suggest "Amos Lawrence Sports Center" This way, students and residents could learn the name of the founder of Lawrence. In front of the sports center, there should be an article about who he was and his accomplishments.

Taken from the Internet, the name Amos in Hebrew means: strong; carried; brave. This is certainly true of Lawrence and its history.

Continued from the Internet,

"...people with this name tend to be creative and excellent at expressing themselves. They are drawn to the arts, and often enjoy life immensely. They are often the center of attention, and enjoy careers that put them in the limelight. They tend to become involved in many different activities, and are sometimes reckless with both their energies and with money."

Isn't that true of Lawrence, and all the "crazies" Dolph Simons was talking about in a column not too far back - and yet these are people who often accomplish the greatest things later in life.

It would also mean that the sports complex would make a special effort to include sports from other areas of the United States, such as a casting pool (pools from which people learn to cast for fishing, and also have competitions) and lawn bowling, both amazing sports and a lot of fun. Plus there are sports such as rugby ( almost all high schools in San Francisco have a women's and men's rugby team), cricket, and of course soccer - or does the complex not include soccer?

There might even be a number of newly-born Amoses from this title for the sports center.

I also think that Sports Center is much more appropriate than Sports Pavillion. Center is more opening to sports of all kinds, whereas pavillion suggests "grand sports". Surely the people of Lawrence want to participate in sports of all kinds-- imported from Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. And people would pay lots of money to come to Lawrence to be included in such competitions.

I'm really serious about naming the center the Amos Lawrence Sports Center. There would be nothing else like it in the United States, to my knowledge. When TV commentators called up the "Amos Lawrence Sports Center," before long everyone in the country would know what you are referring to.

But I can't resist a little bit of humor, too. Our recent city commissions seem mostly focused on profit, rather than on everyday fun sports.

And in that light, just for the humor of it, please consider the following:

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