Archive for Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Regents OK $26 million indoor practice facility for KU football

Meeting on the campus of Wichita State University, the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday authorized the University of Kansas to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for the Jayhawk football team.

Meeting on the campus of Wichita State University, the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday authorized the University of Kansas to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for the Jayhawk football team.

November 15, 2017

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— The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday gave the University of Kansas authority to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for a football team that hasn’t had a winning record since 2008.

Meeting on the campus of Wichita State University, the board voted unanimously to authorize KU to revise its current capital improvement plan to include construction of the new facility, even though a final location has not yet been determined.

The KU Athletics Department wants to build the facility close to Memorial Stadium. The current indoor facility, the Anschutz Sports Pavilion, is near Allen Fieldhouse, 0.7 miles from Memorial Stadium and is a facility that has to be shared by several sports teams.

The indoor practice facility is just one part of an overall $300 million renovation project that KU has planned for Memorial Stadium, a project that is expected to be funded entirely with private donations.

Meeting on the campus of Wichita State University, the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday authorized the University of Kansas to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for the Jayhawk football team.

Meeting on the campus of Wichita State University, the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday authorized the University of Kansas to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for the Jayhawk football team.

University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod attends a Kansas Board of Regents meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Wichita.

University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod attends a Kansas Board of Regents meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Wichita.

That’s only slightly less than the $350 million that KU invested in the Central District development project, which involved the construction of five new buildings including a science building, a residence hall and dining facility, a parking facility and a power plant.

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod, however, said it’s still not certain that the entire $300 million stadium renovation will be funded.

“First of all, it’s really multiple projects,” he said during an interview before the Regents meeting. “The indoor practice facility is the first. Then there’s two to three, maybe even four phases of the stadium, and we will step through those as resources and interest allow. So whether we ever get to all $300 million or not, we’ve had indications from our donors that they want to see what the whole thing would look like and then we’ll start working on it in pieces.”

“It’s also a lot cheaper than knocking it down and building from scratch, which a lot of schools have done,” he added.

The project comes at a time when the KU football program has been coming under pressure for the fact that it has won only nine games, and only three Big 12 conference games, in the last five seasons.

But Girod defended the project, saying it’s necessary for the Jayhawks to have any hope of turning the team around.

“There is a chicken-and-egg phenomenon here,” he said during an interview before the board meeting. “We’re the only school in the Big 12 that doesn’t have a dedicated indoor practice facility. At the end of the day, when you’re recruiting kids, these things do matter. Would it be easier to do all this if we had a winning record? No question about it. We’re digging our way out of a pretty big hole, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”

Although KU officials initially planned to erect the facility on the same site as the current outdoor practice fields just south of the stadium, Girod said the university is now looking at other sites around Memorial Stadium.

“We’re actually thinking right now, it’s probably more on the west side of the stadium than right along Mississippi Street for a number of reasons,” he said. “So we’re trying to get permission from the Board (of Regents) that’ll allow us to dive deeply into those details. There are actually at least three sites around the stadium that we’d like to look at.”

Girod told the board that KU plans to engage the campus and surrounding communities in conversations to determine the best location for the facility. He said the university hopes to begin construction after the current football season ends Nov. 25, and to complete the project before the start of the 2018 season.

Comments

Bill Turner 1 month ago

What a shame. KU wasting $26 million on something as stupid and useless as football. Money that could go to educate the next generation of Kansans. Money that could be used to help cure diseases or develop the technology to create fuels and polymers from the biomass abundant in Kansas while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. How horrible.

Sam Crow 1 month ago

How about you donate your money where you want to, and I will donate my money where I want to ?

Brett Fuller 1 month ago

It is not KU money it is the donors money and the donor decides. If you are as successful and generous as David Booth then you could also decide. Maybe everyone didn't agree with him donating $300 million to the Chicago school of business but again it was his choice. Feel free to let everyone know where you donate and let everyone vote if it is okay or stupid.

Bob Summers 1 month ago

Exactly, Mr. Fuller

Sadly, people with emotional hypersensitivity cannot possibly think rationally during their constant moments of stress.

Bill Turner 1 month ago

It it irrational to expect the premier public university in the state to spend large amounts of money on things that will actually further its mission?

Bob Summers 1 month ago

Breathe deep the gathering gloom, Watch lights fade from every room. Bedsitter people look back and lament, Another day's useless energy.

Bill Turner 1 month ago

It's KU's money after it gets donated, and it only goes where KU directs donors to donate money. If KU had no interest in football, no one would donate money to football. There any big donors dropping millions for KU's table tennis team? I wonder why not... it's a hugely popular sport in parts of the world. What about their alpine skiing team? Maybe because no one here gives a hoot. If KU told donors that it needs money for libraries and facilities, that's where the money would land. If they tell 'em football, it lands in football. And, for the record, I donate my money to help children with special needs(e.g. Children's Mercy Hospital, Tiny-K, etc.). If you think that's stupid, go ahead and vote and let the public know.

Paul Jones 1 month ago

Simply build an enclosure around the current practice field. It's an eyesore and perhaps a tasteful building design can help it blend into the hill better than it does now.

Steve Johnson 1 month ago

A lot of money for a high school football team.

Bob Summers 1 month ago

This is exactly what the team needs.

Warm dry comfort to play football.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 1 month ago

Totally ridiculous, a complete waste of money.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

Like pouring sand in a rathole.

David Holroyd 1 month ago

Chancellor Girod is going to do what the DONORS want. He is just a signer of legal documents that the university attorneys tell him the paper looks good. Just like Bernadette did. She had no say in hiring or firing coaches or athletic directors.

The DONORS rule!

Bill Turner 1 month ago

Here's KU's web page dedicated to its mission: https://www.ku.edu/about/mission/

How does spending $350 million on football further any of KU's stated objectives?

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