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?”
“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.