Thursday, October 15, 2009

Five-star rating

Players, coaches awed by fieldhouse’s fancy renovations

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical workers stop to admire a wall of photographs from the Kansas University men’s hoops 2008 national championship in the northwest corner of Allen Fieldhouse. The KU athletic department put on a tour of the renovations at the fieldhouse.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical workers stop to admire a wall of photographs from the Kansas University men’s hoops 2008 national championship in the northwest corner of Allen Fieldhouse. The KU athletic department put on a tour of the renovations at the fieldhouse.


Fieldhouse Panorama

Use your mouse to click and drag around this VR panorama of the northwest corner of Allen Fieldhouse where the Jayhawks enter the court.

Tour the renovated Allen Fieldhouse

Check out the renovated Allen Fieldhouse in this video tour.

Fieldhouse renovations put on display

The $42 million facelift at Allen Fieldhouse was put on display Wednesday.

A Wednesday afternoon tour of renovated Allen Fieldhouse begins fittingly outside the northwest tunnel of the 54-year-old building.

It’s the tunnel the Jayhawks sprint through — as they enter and exit James Naismith Court — each and every basketball practice and game.

On the top of the tunnel — perhaps to daily remind the Jayhawks what they’re playing for — is signage that says, “National Champions 1922, 1923, 1952, 1988, 2008.”

There are inspirational messages over the other three lower-level tunnels: “Hail to Ole KU” in the northeast corner; “Rock Chalk Jayhawk ... KU” in the southwest corner as well as “Pay Heed All Who Enter, Beware of the Phog” in the southeast corner.

Back to the area around the northwest tunnel, however, where a huge collage now adorns the wall where the fans line up to gather the players’ autographs after games.

There are renderings of KU coach Bill Self hoisting the net after the Jayhawks’ 2008 national title victory over Memphis, center Sasha Kaun and Co., holding up the NCAA title trophy as well as a plethora of other shots including Danny Manning and Larry Brown hugging after claiming the ’88 crown.

There are two corridors heading from the northwest to southwest part of the building — one open to the public, the other closed to all but players and coaches.

A new basketball history hallway — available for all fans to pass through — features men’s and women’s timelines chronicling the best players in KU history, including, of course, Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning and Lynette Woodard.

The other corridor — which takes the punching in of a code to enter — leads to the bulk of the $7.8 million improvements made to the fieldhouse since last April 4.

They include brand new locker rooms, coaches’ locker rooms, training rooms, film rooms and lounges for both the men’s and women’s teams as well as a shared dining hall where teams will feast on their pre-game meals and meals before departing on road trips.

There’s also a shared cardio room where players and coaches can work the treadmill while watching TV at the same time.

“Cool,” is one word KU men’s coach Bill Self used to describe the extensive renovations.

“First-class” is another uttered by women’s coach Bonnie Henrickson.

Henrickson, in fact, opened her Media Day session Wednesday by gushing about the fieldhouse improvements.

“I think I’m going to move into the locker room,” she said with a smile. “You walk in there and there’s a feel of ‘first-class.’ I remember what Ritch Price (KU baseball coach) said after moving into their new clubhouse for the first time. There’s a difference, a change in attitude, feeling first-class, like a championship team.”

Both the men’s and women’s locker rooms feature huge wooden stalls for each player with four shelves.

Above the names of the men’s players are the numerals “1922, 23, 52, 88, 08” and the words “Are you next?”

Scripted on the wall just outside that locker room is the message, “Respect those who played before you. We are Kansas basketball.”

Above the names of the women’s players are the words: “Together we’re better: Big 12 champs.”

“That locker room is the nicest I’ve ever been in,” KU senior Sade Morris said. “The lounge is beautiful,” she added of a mammoth room with huge leather couches and several televisions. “We can all watch what we want,” she added.

“It’s amazing what they (administration) have done for us. People (recruits) will walk in the locker room and say, ‘Wow, I want to go there.’’’

A luxurious donor atrium — where boosters will be able to eat and drink (yes, alcoholic beverages are allowed) before games, at halftime, and after games — is located on the level right above the locker rooms.

A huge shot of Mario Chalmers’ three-point shot that sent the ‘08 title game into overtime is plastered on the south entrance wall and old shots of campus and the fieldhouse on the north end.

Donors have a perfect view of the new men’s and women’s hoops practice facility from all parts in the atrium.

“The practice facility is connected by Horejsi Center on the south, Wagnon (Student Athlete Center) on the north and the donor atrium on the east side,” KU assistant athletic director Brad Nachtigal said, in describing where the men’s and women’s practice gym sits. “It’s squeezed between the three buildings basically.”

KU hasn’t ignored the east side of the fieldhouse. The Booth Family Hall of Athletics has been expanded.

“We’ve added more interactive elements we think the fans will love,” KU associate AD Jim Marchiony said.

Indeed there is an area where fans can actually sit in front of a microphone and make their own broadcast recording of Chalmers’ big shot versus Memphis. There also are displays where fans can check their height, wingspan and vertical jumps and a new display featuring the title trophies and plaques of KU’s five national title teams.

“We knocked out a wall and pushed everything back. There’s more space for the fans to move around,” Marchiony said of the Hall.

Fieldhouse renovations also include new a new visitors locker room in the southeast corner and refs’ locker room on the donor atrium level, wider concourses on the first and second floors, new concessions, restroom improvements and installation of terrazzo floors throughout the building. Also, there’s a bridge connecting the parking garage to the fieldhouse on the north end.

“Fans won’t see much change inside,” KU coach Self said, noting the fieldhouse floor, seats and scoreboards have not changed a bit. “The building will still have the same feel, but we will see amenities that are second to none. I don’t know how many places could encompass the history, tradition and feel and still have all the modern amenities surrounding it.

“This is a big-time deal,” Self added. “What they did is put this building in position to be here another 50 years. It’s now maybe the coolest place in the country, a building second to none.”


Aaron Carpenter 10 years, 3 months ago

Very Nice! You deserve it Bill as do All the Hawks!

James Miller 10 years, 3 months ago

This is a true testament to Bill Self's character. He could have went to his alma mater and coached for way more money, but instead he stayed and got his assistant coaches raises and demanded these upgrades. Well Bill........I love you man. You are everything a fan could want in a coach. I feel lucky to be a Jayhawk fan, and to have you as my coach. I will be watching all the televised games on AFN, and rooting for another championship. Thanks.

Jeff Schartz 10 years, 3 months ago

I am just glad that the renovations are ready for the late night in the phog, so that the new recruits are able to see the commitment that the university, and the state of Kansas, makes toward this being the best place to play basketball on the planet.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

Very Cool Stuff! I have goosebumps! This makes me want to fly back and go to a game or two, or three...................

Joel Hood 10 years, 3 months ago

Brian Hanni of Lawrence's KLWN 1320, Rock Chalk Sports Talk, described the upgrades. He said AFH looks incredible and the additions to the Hall of Athletics are great too. This summer he was at the Dean Dome at UNC. Brian said they are worlds apart. The facilities at AFH are without a doubt the best college basketball environment in the country - it isn't even close. This may be Lew's greatest legacy.

KANSTUCKY 10 years, 3 months ago

There's no place like home... there's no place like home...

Well done Kansas. Now let's show them why the best deserve the best.

KGphoto 10 years, 3 months ago

Can't wait to see it nationally during Late Night on ESPN. Coach Self will be turning players away instead of recruiting. And I'm actually even happier for Henrickson and the possibilities with her program. Can she start landing top 10 talent now? Why not?

sdoyel 10 years, 3 months ago

This is truly top notch!

One suggestion: Expand the KU Store in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. It's tiny and is always overflowing on Game day.

Nick Adams 10 years, 3 months ago

To bad we don't get a college gameday this year to help show it off.

Priest Fontaine 10 years, 3 months ago

this is great. i want to fly in from NYC and take a tour! now we just need to get these kids out of the jayhawk towers and into something proper. while were are at it - might as well get rid of the track at the football stadium and fill that in with seats so fans can get closer to the field. by the way, harrison barnes should be arriving in lawrence today. dont let him get away!

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Glad to hear such great things about the AFH renovation. Ready for another 50 years? Won't that be cool for the young Jayhawks lucky enough to be around to celebrate AFH's 100 birthday. By then there will have to be a small addition built just to hang all the banners!

Next stop for the renovation wagon...Jayhawker Towers!

Jim Pendleton 10 years, 3 months ago

I was fortunate enough to take the tour yesterday. Without a doubt, these new items are first class all the way. Add this on to the amazing game day experience, great coaches & players, and it will be very difficult for a visiting recruit to say no.

Only one drawback, as I asked someone in the new donor atrium about getting in on game day. Apparently they will be selling memberships for $1500 each. Guess it is not really for all donors as the name might indicate.

Debbie Mangen 10 years, 3 months ago

OK, help me here. The Jayhawks enter the court from the northwest corner that says National Champs. Then the story goes on to say what the other tunnels have on them. When I read that the "Beware of the Phog" was on the southeast tunnel, I thought, too bad it isn't on the the southwest tunnel where the other team enters. Then it states that the visitors enter through the southeast tunnel. Have they changed which side of the court the visitors are going to come from now?

The building looks great! I had plans to go to Late Night but had to cancel. Can anyone tell me if it will be on the internet? I know they are going to be on ESPNU, but honestly, I can't stand watching Duke and UNC anymore than is absolutely necessary. This is a night for just the KU nation to strut their stuff.

Rock Chalk!

Jaminrawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully the recruits tomorrow are as impressed as I am with these pics. Can't wait to see them first hand.

milwaukeeJAYHAWK 10 years, 3 months ago

Wow! It's amazing to think of what AFH looks like now, compared to say, 15 years ago. Remember the track on the inside? They've really done well at showing off the glory of the program!

KU hoops is reminding me of that Beatles song....

...."I admit it's getting better, a little better all the time"......

rockemchalkemrobots 10 years, 3 months ago

“1922, 23, 52, 88, 08”

Anyone know whether it is correct usage to only list the last two digits for 2008 in this context? Just curious.

KU1992 10 years, 3 months ago

RochChalk_mom i was just wondering the same thing.

whatever the case may be. i really hope they put the "beware of the phog" sign above the visitors entrance. that would just be so sweet.

Clydecito 10 years, 3 months ago

jayhawk1866. Perfectly stated. Ditto that for me.

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

We have some work to do in order to justify that nice facility. Let's not just have a nice little museum from history, but a view to the future of what Kansas b-ball will be!

I want a championship to continue that rich tradition of winning NCs, not just b-ball history. Kansas is the future of college basketball!! Question is who is next to build a piece of that future: X, EJ, T-Rob, Royce, Barnes, Mr. Paine? These kids need to catch the Phog and feel the pride of Jayhawk b-ball.


KANSTUCKY 10 years, 3 months ago

Too bad the NBA doesn't have facilities like this.

rasta_meta 10 years, 3 months ago

Lew Perkins just might be the best AD Kansas has ever had. He has raised money, improved facilities while keeping tradition, and he is trying to make all sports to be top tier programs, especially football...which is important because it can help support the other sports. I wish he would have bee the AD when I was there.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Talking about new facilities and the upcoming season sure is more fun than talking about serial street fights and DUIs and fender benders.

David Robinett 10 years, 3 months ago

Subject: Fwd: Russell Robinson Needs Your Vote To Make the Cavs

Not sure if you have seen this yet, but pass it on to a bunch of KU people so we can get Russ Rob on the Cavs!!! Follow the link and cast your vote.

lee3022 10 years, 3 months ago

A big assist from Coach Bill Self -

In negotiating his new contract after the last championship Coach reportedly insisted on new practice facilities, new locker rooms and player facilities and new contracts for his coaches before he even considered his own package. Now we see the completion of those items and recruiting will take another big advantage.

It sounds like Mr Perkins has once again proven to be the best AD in the country. Fitting.

jayhawks4life09 10 years, 3 months ago

The opening of this renovation couldn't come at a better time. with late night right around the corner the hype will be even bigger. And in light of recent "events," I think this might help people take their minds off of the negative things that Lew, Bill, and company have had to deal with. I'm a student at KU so we hear everything right after it happens. But, I am still convinced that the administration and athletic department and staff at KU are second to none. I do not for one second doubt the character and integrity of either Lew or Bill and have complete faith that they will continue to handle recent events with unparalleled poise and class. So let's turn over a new leaf at Late Night, make it one to remember, and start the official season off on the right foot!

Rock Chalk Title Title Talk!

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