SBD/May 1, 2014/Facilities

Univ. Of Kansas Hires Firm For Memorial Stadium Facelift, But No Groundbreaking Planned

Estimates put the first-phase of renovations around $60M
Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger said that the athletic department has hired K.C.-based architecture firm HNTB to "draw up blueprints for Memorial Stadium's future renovations, but there are no plans to break ground any time soon," according to Matt Tait of the LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD. Zenger said that HNTB is "in the final stages of developing its renderings, and those plans currently are being vetted through the appropriate groups on campus, by members of the athletic department and outside stakeholders." He added, "We need a little momentum in football to inspire the donors whose help we're going to need." Zenger said that with "major projects still ongoing at Rock Chalk Park and progress on the DeBruce Center, which will house James Naismith’s original rules of basketball, and the Fieldhouse Apartments right around the corner," the focus was on "finishing those so that all of the department’s attention -- both in terms of fundraising and planning -- could be devoted to Memorial Stadium." Although no "exact price tag has been determined because plans and possibilities for upgrades and renovations at Memorial Stadium vary and remain a work in progress, estimates put the first-phase value alone" around $60M. Zenger has said that the project, "whenever it gets underway, likely would be executed in steps." The first phase, which "could include lowering the field and removing the track, would be the most significant." The subsequent steps would "address things like adding club-level seating to the east and west sides of the stadium and giving both the bowl and the south end zone a facelift" (LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD, 5/1).

TEXAS TWO-STEP: In San Antonio, Tim Griffin notes with about 80% of Baylor's $260M McLane Stadium completed, the building's Aug. 29 opener for a high school game "seems well within reach." That early game will "provide a shakedown cruise before Baylor's first game of the season two days later against SMU." McLane Stadium Senior Project Manager Jim Heley said, "We've got a lot of work to do in the next couple of months, but we're on track. We've got 123 days before the first game, so we're in good shape." Baylor Associate VP/Facilities, Planning & Construction Brian Nicholson said that the stadium "will be functional when fans arrive for the first game" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 5/1). 

BEARCAT TRACKS: Univ. of Cincinnati architect Beth McGrew said that the school remains "on schedule to re-open" Nippert Stadium for the '15 season. In Cincinnati, Tom Groeschen notes the expansion "mainly will come via premium seating and focuses on the west side of the stadium, adding suites, club seats and loge boxes within a new press box structure." The new structure will be "about 1 1/2 stories taller than the former press box and about 130 yards long." The facility will "contain four levels: A press and operations level, suite level, scholarship club level, and patio suites mezzanine level." The west concourse also is "being renovated, including concession stands and restrooms." The old press box has been "torn down, and work is proceeding on the foundation of the new structure." McGrew said that there will be "more than double the current amount of both restroom and concession availability" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/1).
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