Friday, August 21, 2009

Stadium renovations in exploratory phase


Possible plans to carry out considerable renovations to the east side of Kansas University’s Memorial Stadium are still in the “exploratory phase,” KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said Thursday.

The project, which was first broached during a focus group meeting with donors in March, would potentially add club seating — in the form of box suites — to the stadium’s east side, which currently features only bleacher seating.

Marchiony didn’t give a timetable for the completion of the project — which would be funded entirely by private donations — but did indicate that completion any sooner than the 2011 season would be “ambitious.”

“We’re doing feasibility study, market research, and we need to do research about what, exactly, we can do to that side of the stadium, architecturally,” he said. “... We still have some work to do before the project gets under way.”

The project, if undertaken, would represent the third major upgrade to Memorial Stadium in recent memory. Kivisto Field underwent an $800,000 to $900,000 resurfacing this summer, and plans to install a new scoreboard for the 2010 season were recently passed, as well.

“We think that the scoreboard has served us well, but it’s time to get a new one,” said Marchiony, adding that the cost of the project is not yet known. “It’s time to upgrade. And we plan to do that for 2010.”

In the meantime, he said, the university is in the process of examining the interest in the east-side renovations.

“We think there would be considerable interest,” Marchiony said, “and that’s what we’re gauging now.”


Ted Toulouse 10 years, 5 months ago

Bigger is always better :) Just don't cover up the hill

Ryan Richey 10 years, 5 months ago

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...get rid of the track. This isn't high school and nobody cares about the relays.

Kevin Long 10 years, 5 months ago

I love it that football is getting some love the last few years. I love the fact of a new scoreboard, but is there a way to just move the old one to the other side without one at all? And yes, get rid of that stupid track!!!! It's really bad. I get a lot of crap from KU haters for that thing and I don't have a defense for that.

Cody Stumma 10 years, 5 months ago

Well, until they build that Olympic Village, they really can't remove the track.

And yes, there are people who enjoy watching the Relays ProudKansan. I am one of them.

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 5 months ago

They're already building a new track. Why can't we get rid of the one at Memorial?

rolo2383 10 years, 5 months ago

I would think that adding box suites to the east side would cause a lot of vision problems for people on the west side. I'm guessing the box suites will be covered with glass. Unless they install non glare glass then the sun on those early evening games is going to bounce off the glass and blind everyone on the west side. Or maybe not. Just a thought.

We do need to get that track out of there. I know it can't be done at this point but I sure hope they can do in the next five years.

Waylon Cook 10 years, 5 months ago

Thank you Code! Lew has a plan and its clear. He cranked up the facilities in football which in turn have upped our recruiting which equals more wins. More wins equal more money with bowl berths and attendance etc.(Football is bread and butter for most schools.) Long KU lived by MBB and I think we all remember Roy wanted it put back in HIS program.

Lew also helped at Ritch Price and crew by doing improvements to the ballpark, indoor hitting facility and the clubhouse. Which in turn translated to 3 home losses this year and good crowds. Even though this is considered a non-revenue or Olympic sport losing less money is a good thing.

Bball which has long been the cash cow per say is now getting upgrades with the practice facility etc. Just another way to keep Bill Self and crew at the top. He also helps Bonnie a ton in that regard(remember UConn was one of only two WBB programs to make money forever). Much like baseball KU WBB maybe far from turning a profit(at this time) cutting anything off the deficit helps the Athletic Dept as a whole.

The other non revenue sports are also getting beautiful new facilities at the Jayhawk Sports Complex. Lew wanted to make the Jayhawk more marketable and it is key to get TV exposure with the non-revenue sports as well. In order to so we must use the facilities to land top notch recruits and translate that into winning. Nothing more I'd love to see than KU softball in OKC and KU baseball in Omaha both so close KU would really bring the fans. Things like this help the Athletic Department as a whole. The Olympic Village isn't being built YET but I forsee happening as soon as Allen Fieldhouse work is completed(funding isn't "secured publicly" but I think with revenue we can get it going). It also is going to be another step in the right direction for those teams and final step to get track gone.

Once this is finished(aka track built) look for the improvements at Memorial and look for them to be BIG. Lew doesn't do anything that isn't high-end and I can imagine we no longer will have crappy concourses or chain link. The gray exterior will probably be a color to match the football facility and we will truly start to see a new era in KU Athletics. We will have finally got caught up with programs that shouldn't have ever got away from us and start making Kansaa University a destination for all student athletes.

The 2009-2010 season is going to be a special one sit back enjoy the ride but never be satisfied with where we are! Do anything you can to help out and lets keep this ball going!

TexasJayhawk78 10 years, 5 months ago

A new Scoreboard without SPEAKERS sounds great! The only downside about attending a Jayhawk Football Game is all the "music" from the PA/Scoreboard system. If I wanted to be blown out by ads, I could stay at home and turn up the volume on the TV. Why do you think we press the mute button on the remote when the TV Ads come on? Too bad the scoreboard does not come with a Mute button. Get a new scoreboard and allow the fans and band to get back in the game.

Waylon Cook 10 years, 5 months ago

New scoreboard would have been this year but someone(not KU Athletic Dept) dropped ball.

Pinkels_Visor 10 years, 5 months ago

Complete the second level of the bowl! Complete the second level of the bowl! It would provide a GREAT view of the hill and campus, and would offer many more affordable seats for the common man (and family).

labbadabba 10 years, 5 months ago

Getting rid of the track is a given. Though, I'm not sure how much closer we can get to the field and still maintain sightlines for those seats closest to the field.

Won't suites further reduce the capacity of our already small stadium? Any chance the North Bowl will get another level to make it level with the east and west sides?

A new scoreboard is nice, but can we find a way not to obstruct the hill?

shawneehawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Hey, what about the the upper level conscessions and restrooms???????? I thought they were on the agenda at one time. It's still a dump up there!

10 years, 5 months ago

I too like the idea of adding a second level to the north bowl, however I have heard there are concerns regarding having enough room outside the stadium on that end - - in that there may not be enough real estate between where the stadium stands and 11th street to be able to add on. If this is in fact the case, they could probably add another level directly above the current one, they just wouldn't be able to continue the current rows up and out to the north and keep the architecture uniform.

charlesyu 10 years, 5 months ago

The Board of Regents have told the respective athletic departments at the KBOR schools that they will not be sanctioning any more debt for non-revenue generating projects. The Olympic Village will have to be entirely privately funded.

10 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of Memorial Stadium, here is a cool link that gives you a panoramic view which you can rotate from side to side as well as up and down.

Cody Stumma 10 years, 5 months ago

I've been in the Skyboxes before, and IMO, its not worth the extra money to sit up there. You're basically removed from the game and the atmosphere. If I want to sit so far away from the game, I would of just watched it on TV (and for free).

However, I too feel that we need to extend the Bowl if any renovations should be done. It just feels kinda 'incomplete' without having all three sections a second level. Unfortunately, I looked around and adding a second level to the bowl section would be putting it dangerously close to the street.

741hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Yes. Tear out the track . . . something we share with only two other BCS schools -- Duke and Washington. GAWD! Please note: The first addition to Owen Field (OU) was made in 1947. They tore out the track!

Engineering studies have been done. I received a letter from Dolph Simons, Jr. over 10 years ago, citing that study. The Chancellor additionally confirmed this to me at the Orange Bowl reception.

Seven rows totalling about 5,000 seats could be added. With the field lowered, the site lines would be fine.

Last I heard, Lew was balking because they'd have to blast some rock! Lew needs to hear from y'all about this. I've been writing the AD nearly every year since 1985!

Rock Chalk

gardenjay 10 years, 5 months ago

We need to support the Kansas Relays. They had parades for the relays back in the '50s along Jayhawk Blvd, and KU had one of the strongest outdoor track meets in the day.

Sort of like being one of the triple crown, but for track.

Anyway, the new track would need seating for fans, with room to expand if we get another Jim Ryan.

Also, to expand the football stadium it makes sense to do what Michigan (U of M) did and go down some more (they used an old gravel quarry to be fair). The U of M stadium may be the largest football stadium in the country (100K+), and when you talk about building too close to the road, you should see what they have done! You can throw 'being dangerous' out the construction windows and hit cars, but it's football so they just do it, basically right above a busy thoroughfare.

But then, football and other things became so important there that all living examples of their mascot in the area, the wolverine, are now gone for good. Whereas we have many examples of our mascot in a variety of materials all over the place! Rock Chalk!

Gene Jackson 10 years, 5 months ago

I have been to the games in Boulder where the track has been eliminated. Yes, the sight lines to the far end of the field are not good if you are sitting down there on the 5 yard line, but you can feel the game and see the players so much better when the action is near you. And, believe me, the players know you are there. I am for it. The sooner the better.

JBurtin 10 years, 5 months ago

Adding a second tier to the bowl is more doable than most people think.

I think most people make the assumption that if the bowl were to be expanded, then there would have to be the same kind of concrete substructure all the way out to the the street.

There's no reason that you couldn't have a second tier that hangs partially over the street without having to have the supports come all the way out to the edge. A row of large pillars that cantilever the load back toward the original structure could do the trick.

Not to mention, it could look really cool if it was done right.

kckmedic 10 years, 4 months ago

TexasJayhawk, one of the big reasons that we need to continue to have speakers is the fans. I graduated from KU in May and while I thoroughly enjoyed the intensity of the student section over the past few years, I dreaded every KU kickoff when the student section would scream, almost in unison, "Rip his f'ing head off". Younger fans nowadays feel like they are entitled to do or say whatever they want at a game. It kills me to say that because though I'm 30 I feel like my dad when I say that. The athletic department used the scoreboard to drown out the students on kickoffs and it worked fairly well. Plus, the speakers are useful when they show pre-game and in-game videos. I haven't been to any other college stadiums but our AV staff has to be some of the best at designing the videos and I consider them to be part of the experience of being at a game. Regarding the addition, I think that anything that brings us in line with the big boys is good. I have wondered for a long time though why they don't connect the upper sections on the east and west by extending them around the hourseshoe on the north side. Not sure exactly how many seats that would add but any addition is good as long as we fill the seats and it doesn't look like a Royals game.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.