The doors of Allen Fieldhouse slammed shut on April 4, just a few hours after Kansas University’s women’s basketball loss to South Florida in the finals of the WNIT.
They won’t swing open again until sometime in September, once renovations are completed.
“The fieldhouse is closed,” KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said Tuesday. “It is a construction zone right now.”
Summertime camps of basketball coaches Bill Self and Bonnie Henrickson will be held in various gyms across town, just like last weekend’s Jayhawk Invitational AAU tournament.
“Ideally we’d have loved to have them (AAU athletes) play in Allen Fieldhouse as it’s one of the great facilities in the country,” Marchiony said.
“I think people — having seen the first round of the renovations in 2004 — appreciate the concept of making Allen Fieldhouse as good as it can be. People are excited to find out what it will look like because the first round (of improvements) went so well.
“The painting of the bleachers, the chairbacks, the new windows, videoboard and floor (and cleaning of the exterior) ... people saw how great that turned out and are excited.”
Future KU basketball player Royce Woolridge, who played AAU games at Haskell and Lawrence High last weekend as a member of the Arizona Magic, will play in the renovated fieldhouse during the 2010-11 season.
“I was looking forward to playing in the fieldhouse (last weekend). (But) it is what it is,” Woolridge said. “They are improving it.”
The latest upgrades to the fieldhouse are part of a $38 million package of work that also includes Parrott Athletic Center, Wagnon Student Athlete Center, Horejsi Center as well as a new basketball practice facility going up adjacent to the fieldhouse. The practice facility will also open in September.
“Most of the work is on the first-floor concourse,” Marchiony said of the fieldhouse.
He said KU is ...
• Expanding and renovating the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms and upgrading the locker rooms for the visiting teams and officials.
• Expanding the Booth Family Hall of Athletics.
• Turning the old track office into a media work room and press conference room.
• Renovating food service operations and concessions stands.
• Improving the merchandise stands.
• Providing more storage room for maintenance operations and basketball operations.
• Upgrading the restrooms.
• Creating donor lounges. Marchiony said, “donors will be able to use them before games, at halftime and after the games.”
The donor lounges are currently being constructed on the west side of Allen, between Parrott Athletic Center and Allen.
Marchiony said private donations have been raised to pay for the renovations.
“We are raising money to do more. We’d like to do some more work, but can’t until we raise the money,” Marchiony said, not yet outlining future improvement plans for the fieldhouse.
KU’s athletic department also is raising money to create a $24.6 million Olympic Village in the area south of Anschutz Pavilion. The concept includes a 400-meter track with grandstand seating, new practice and competition soccer fields with grandstand seating and new grandstand seating for the softball field.
Past Allen Fieldhouse improvements included seating expansions in 1986 and 1994. In 1999, concession stands and restrooms were improved and an elevator was installed in the south end. Handicapped seating was moved courtside behind both baskets in 2001.