Updates from the DeBruce Center, future home of Naismith’s ‘Rules of Basket Ball’

A photo of the original rules of Basket

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about the DeBruce Center, the big glass building under construction adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse that will soon be home to James Naismith’s original “Rules of Basket Ball.” But things over there are moving right along.

When plans were first announced a couple years ago, the DeBruce Center was hoped to open in fall 2015 (which, obviously, it did not). DeBruce is now slated to open in March. (On a related note: with the new facility becoming available, that’s when the Burge Union will shut down to prepare for demolition and rebuilding.)

Kansas Memorial Unions on Friday announced a few other DeBruce Center updates, most importantly that it has named a director. Curtis Marsh, who is currently the director of KU Info, will continue in that role and also take on the new role of directing activation and ongoing operations at the DeBruce Center.

Here’s what Marsh said, in a news release, about leading the DeBruce Center: “The original rules of basketball serve as the jewel on the crown of the country’s most storied college basketball program. I am committed to making the DeBruce Center accessible to students, guests and the entire Jayhawk Nation so we can all enjoy the story of the game’s beginning, and what is quite possibly the world’s most valuable element of sports memorabilia.”

Marsh has been at KU in various roles for 20 years, according to Memorial Unions. Fun fact: In addition to professional accomplishments and awards, he was a member of one of the first organized basketball camping groups, “Cpt. Jayhawk and the Superfans.”

A little more on what’s coming in the new facility, according to KU Memorial Unions:

• Square feet: 32,000

• Pièce de résistance: James Naismith’s original “Rules of Basket Ball.” KU alumnus David Booth and his wife, Suzanne Booth, purchased the document at auction in 2010 for $4.3 million — a sports memorabilia record, according to Sotheby’s in New York City.

A photo of the original rules of Basket

• Gift shop: It will be named The Original Rules Gift Shop.

• Dining options: The Courtside Cafe, with seating for more than 200, and a Roasterie coffee shop.

• Displays: Celebrating Naismith, former KU athletics director and basketball coach dubbed the “Father of Basketball,” and Forrest “Phog” Allen, the “Father of Basketball Coaching.”

Rendering of KU's DeBruce Center by Gould Evans Architecture.

Rendering of KU's DeBruce Center by Gould Evans Architecture.

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