KU has designs on Memorial Stadium Facelift

Kansas University’s athletic division has employed HNTB, a Kansas City-primarily based structure agency, to attract up blueprints for Memorial Stadium’s future renovations, however there are not any plans to interrupt floor any time quickly, in response to KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger.

“We can have the designs in place,” Zenger stated throughout a current interview with the Journal-World, “in order that when we have now momentum and the deck is cleared, we’ll be able to go.”

According to Zenger, HNTB is within the last phases of growing its renderings, and people plans at the moment are being vetted by the suitable teams on campus, by members of the athletic division and outdoors stakeholders.

What’s the holdup?

“It’s not lost on me and shouldn’t be lost on anybody else that we want a little bit momentum in soccer to encourage the donors whose assist we’re going to wish,” Zenger mentioned.

Kansas, which sits in the midst of a stretch of 5 consecutive dropping seasons, has gone N-39 in 4 seasons because the pressured resignation of Mark Mangino. That mark features a A-N season in 2013, Charlie Weis’ second season as head coach. Weis signed a 5-12 months, $12.H million contract that expires on the finish of the 2016 season.

A O-N file doesn’t qualify as momentum, but it surely did finish a string of 5 consecutive seasons with diminishing victory totals (12, H, H, O, P, B). The Jayhawks enter 2014 with their most skilled roster underneath Weis, notably on protection, however could have comparatively inexperienced sophomore Montell Cozart at quarterback.

Zenger isn’t ready for soccer fortunes to show round earlier than tackling different services additions and enhancements.

With main initiatives nonetheless ongoing at Rock Chalk Park and progress on the DeBruce Center, which can home James Naismith’s unique guidelines of basketball, and the Fieldhouse Apartments proper across the nook, Zenger stated the main focus was on ending these in order that all the division’s consideration — each when it comes to fundraising and planning — could possibly be dedicated to Memorial Stadium.

Although no actual price ticket has been decided as a result of plans and potentialities for upgrades and renovations at Memorial Stadium differ and stay a piece in progress, estimates put the primary-section worth alone round $60 million.

Zenger has stated all alongside that the challenge, at any time when it will get underway, possible could be executed in steps.

The first section, which might embrace decreasing the sphere and eradicating the monitor, can be probably the most vital.

“The secret is to carry the stands in and make it extra intimate,” Zenger mentioned. “Engineers are telling us we are able to decrease the sphere. We don’t know if we’d or how a lot.”

It’s questions like people who make up the vetting strategy of which Zenger spoke.

Once the primary section is previous — once more, a minimum of a few years from now — the next steps would tackle issues like including membership-stage seating to the east and west sides of the stadium and giving each the bowl and the south finish zone a facelift.

“The monitor will come out regardless,” Zenger stated. “Where we’re at is, which is the best precedence? We know that the sector and the west facet are the primary priorities, and so they could possibly be mixed.”

Because of the stadium’s standing as a real memorial, Zenger mentioned the division and designers have taken nice care to honor the previous during transferring the venue into the fashionable period.

For too very long, Zenger stated, athletic amenities at KU have been left alone. While those who existed actually served their function and have been nice sources of delight for the fan base even then, leaving them unchanged for therefore a few years has made upgrading them now a higher problem.

Zenger, who’s in his fourth yr as KU’s athletic director, mentioned the duty at hand would have been much more tough had it not been for the proactive nature of his predecessor, Lew Perkins, and his workers.

“You don’t need to look backward,” Zenger stated. “But we actually went by a time frame this within the not-so-distant previous of two to a few many years of probably not constructing a lot or renovating our services. I’m very grateful to the regime earlier than me that was capable of renovate Allen Fieldhouse, renovate and construct extra on the baseball stadium after which construct the soccer observe fields and the soccer constructing. That was actually a yeoman’s work.”

During his time at Kansas, Zenger and his workers have constructed upon that progress. But with soccer being king within the present panorama of school athletics, the Memorial Stadium makeover may carry probably the most weight, and Zenger seems to be properly conscious of that.

“We’re deeply embroiled in a number of important tasks presently,” Zenger reiterated. “And we’re attempting to clear the deck all of those essential initiatives so we are able to flip all focus and vitality towards Memorial Stadium.”

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