SBD/October 3, 2013/Facilities

Univ. of Kansas Begins Stadium Renovation Process, No Timetable In Place

Univ. of Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger said that the school has began a "formal design process for the eventual renovation" of Memorial Stadium, according to Rustin Dodd of the K.C. STAR. KU officials last month met with K.C.-based architecture firm HNTB, which "will oversee the design of the project." When KU last "attempted a project at Memorial Stadium" in '09, former AD Lew Perkins "unveiled plans for the Gridiron Club, a $34 million luxury box expansion that would rise above the east side of the stadium." But the plan was "scrapped when the program fell on hard times and the money didn’t materialize." Zenger has "spent much of his tenure trying to get fans and alumni to believe in a new KU athletic department." KU's football team has had four straight losing seasons, including a 3-21 record the previous two years, and Dodd asks, "Could the Jayhawks football team’s lack of on-field success hinder momentum for an expensive, large-scale project?" Zenger said, "If you were being a politician, you’d say no. But the reality of it is, for people to really want to engage at a high level, you need to have some success on the field." Zenger added that there is "no public timetable" for the renovation project, but it will "likely be done in phases." Dodd notes the school last April "broke ground on Rock Chalk Park," a $39M project that will "house new facilities for track and field, soccer and softball." Zenger said that construction is "on schedule ... and the new track is set to play host to the KU Relays this spring." That development "paves the way for KU to remove the track at Memorial Stadium, which could be the first phase in any larger renovation." Zenger said of the track, "A lot of people ask: 'When’s that coming out?' It just takes money. When we have the money, we’ll begin the renovation project" (K.C. STAR, 10/3).
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