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KU’s DeBruce Center now open, temporarily without rules of ‘Basket Ball’

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Guess where I had lunch today? Kansas University’s brand new DeBruce Center. It wasn’t a special media sneak-preview this time — on Monday the building opened to all.

DeBruce is still missing its pièce de résistance. James Naismith’s original rules of “Basket Ball” are not yet on display, and the “Rules Gallery” where they’ll be installed — a passageway connecting DeBruce and Allen Fieldhouse — is not yet complete. It’s roped off, with crews still hard at work inside.

Officials with KU Memorial Unions, the entity running the DeBruce Center, have stressed Monday was a “soft opening” and the $4.3 million rules won’t be installed until everything surrounding them is in place, probably several more weeks. (As DeBruce Center director Curtis Marsh put it in my last story about the building, “We are not messing around with those rules.”)

Aside from some landscaping and finishing touches on exterior metalwork, pretty much everything else is in place. A few highlights:

• Protective covering was removed on Friday, and the bronze sculpture of James Naismith is now on view outside the building. It was designed by the late KU professor Elden Tefft and completed after his death by his son, Kim Tefft.

• Custom metalwork is everywhere at DeBruce, inside and out. The exterior of the “Rules Galley” is particularly showy. The tunnel, connecting Allen Fieldhouse and DeBruce, is encased on both sides with steel covered in what looks like oversize, laser-cut lettering spelling out sections of the rules. Crews are still completing a large metal wall with a waving wheat motif outside the building.

• The “Rules Concourse” is just one of the ramps that zig-zag across the interior of this almost completely open-air building. The concourse features a display of KU basketball history, including oversize photographs of some of its most famous players.

• The Original Rules Gift Shop is heavy on KU basketball memorabilia, specifically original rules of “Basket Ball” memorabilia.

• Inside the Courtside Cafe, I immediately ordered a crunchy chicken cheddar wrap, of course. But then en route to the register I noticed I could have gotten a gyro, a banh mi sandwich or even barbecue at the other stations inside the cafeteria. Maybe next time, probably when I go back for my first look at those rules.

Outside KU's DeBruce Center is this bronze sculpture of James Naismith designed by the late KU professor Elden Tefft and completed after his death by his son, Kim Tefft.

Outside KU's DeBruce Center is this bronze sculpture of James Naismith designed by the late KU professor Elden Tefft and completed after his death by his son, Kim Tefft. by Sara Shepherd

Work is ongoing on the "Rules Gallery" inside KU's DeBruce Center, where James Naismith's original rules of "Basket Ball" will be displayed. The gallery connects DeBruce with Allen Fieldhouse.

Work is ongoing on the "Rules Gallery" inside KU's DeBruce Center, where James Naismith's original rules of "Basket Ball" will be displayed. The gallery connects DeBruce with Allen Fieldhouse. by Sara Shepherd

The "Rules Concourse" leading to the "Rules Gallery" inside KU's DeBruce Center. The big man on the right is KU basketball legend Clyde Lovellette, one of several famous KU figures featured in the historical display.

The "Rules Concourse" leading to the "Rules Gallery" inside KU's DeBruce Center. The big man on the right is KU basketball legend Clyde Lovellette, one of several famous KU figures featured in the historical display. by Sara Shepherd

The Original Rules Gift Shop inside KU's DeBruce Center features KU memorabilia, particularly original rules memorabilia.

The Original Rules Gift Shop inside KU's DeBruce Center features KU memorabilia, particularly original rules memorabilia. by Sara Shepherd

Just inside the main entrance of KU's DeBruce Center is a coffee shop (right). Open seating is pictured at left.

Just inside the main entrance of KU's DeBruce Center is a coffee shop (right). Open seating is pictured at left. by Sara Shepherd

The exterior of the "Rules Gallery" connecting KU's DeBruce Center (right) with Allen Fieldhouse.

The exterior of the "Rules Gallery" connecting KU's DeBruce Center (right) with Allen Fieldhouse. by Sara Shepherd

The Courtside Cafe on the lower level of KU's DeBruce Center.

The Courtside Cafe on the lower level of KU's DeBruce Center. by Sara Shepherd

The Nutrition Kitchen for student athletes on the top level of KU's DeBruce Center.

The Nutrition Kitchen for student athletes on the top level of KU's DeBruce Center. by Sara Shepherd

KU's DeBruce Center is open Monday through Saturday.

KU's DeBruce Center is open Monday through Saturday. by Sara Shepherd


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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