Originally published April 17, 2013 at 05:39p.m., updated April 17, 2013 at 06:13p.m.

Building that will house original “Rules of Basket Ball” will be called the DeBruce Center


The future home of James Naismith’s original “Rules of Basket Ball” on the Kansas University campus has a name, donations covering more than half its cost and an expected time for construction to begin: later this year.

The KU Endowment Association on Wednesday announced the chief donors for the new student center that will house the rules: Paul and Katherine DeBruce, two 1973 KU graduates who live in Mission Hills. The new building, which will connect to the northeast corner of Allen Fieldhouse, will be named the DeBruce Center.

The DeBruces asked for the amount of their gift to remain private, but it plus some other contributions collected so far have amounted to “well in excess of 50 percent” of the center’s $18 million cost, Endowment Assocation president Dale Seuferling said.

“It’s a major or leadership gift that funds a significant portion of the project, that allows us to be within reach,” Seuferling said Wednesday afternoon.

Plans are for the Endowment to construct the building entirely with private funds, then hand over ownership to KU after it’s complete.

Paul DeBruce founded DeBruce Grain of Kansas City, Mo., and Katherine DeBruce worked for the Kansas City Star and in several capacities at Kansas City Public Television.

"This entire project is made possible through the generosity of KU's friends and supporters. Thanks to Paul and Katherine, the DeBruce Center will be an outstanding place for the KU community to gather and will provide the university with a space to welcome visitors and fans," KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a release.

Seuferling said the goal is to start construction later this year, though he declined to predict when the center might open.

Plans are beginning to come into focus, though. The center will have three floors and 31,000 square feet, the Endowment announced.

The building’s centerpiece, Naismith’s original basketball rules, will likely be located on its second floor, where the building will connect to the second-floor concourse of Allen Fieldhouse, Seuferling said. Surrounding the rules, and lining the walls of the walkway into the Fieldhouse, will be other exhibit materials celebrating the history and tradition of KU basketball, he said.

“The rules will serve as a prominent beginning for the exhibit space, and obviously a big tourist attraction,” Seuferling said.

The exhibits in the Booth Hall of Athletics at the Fieldhouse’s east entrance will expand up some stairs into the second-floor concourse, he said, where they will connect with the DeBruce Center’s walkway.

Planners also envision a small theater that will show videos on KU basketball history, as well as a retail space for KU memorabilia and clothing. Elsewhere in the center will be restaurant and dining space, a possible coffee shop area and meeting and event spaces.

It will provide a much-needed gathering space for students and faculty in an area of campus where a new School of Business building is on the way and School of Engineering facilities are expanding, Seuferling said. And, he said, it should also be popular with KU basketball fans before and after games, school groups, tourists and groups or KU departments planning special events or dinners.

“It will be a very popular place,” Seuferling said.

KU alumnus David Booth and his wife, Suzanne Deal Booth, of Austin, Texas, purchased Naismith’s original basketball rules at an auction in 2010 for $4.3 million and offered to display the document at the university.


ahpersecoachingexperience 7 years, 9 months ago

It's a 10x10 cardboard box addition to "The Bird" Speculation is Ahperse donated the majority if the cost but has asked to keep the amount private although sources indicate the amount is equal to half of a unemployment check. Patrons can expect plastic bottle vodka mixed with Shasta and a hot dog buffet.

ccarp 7 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like a good place to load the coolers before heading to the Outhouse.

JacquesMerde 7 years, 9 months ago

It is the outhouse, loaded with ahpersecoachingexperience.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 9 months ago

As a Kansas registered architect and University of Kansas Architectural Alum, I would be honored to sign and seal this important addititon to the Lawrence skyline!!!

dynamitehawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Inside the Perse center one of the corners will be known as The Dynamite Corner. On game days you can throw some craps, and purchase Swap Meet Louis Vuitton from Perry Ellis.

gchawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Sometimes all you can say is "Wow" !! Incredible generosity and obvious loyalty to KU.

hawksquawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like Mr. DeBruce turned a lot of wheat into a ton of dough.

ccarp 7 years, 9 months ago

For a much needed place to break bread

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

Bay, tried again. Not sure if you got the note.

Ken Sedgwick 7 years, 9 months ago

I have a crazy vision. I can see the original rules in it's shrine with the largest display of bronze representing the roots of basketball. Then branching out from there would be the limbs & leaves of the coaches and players of KU basketball history. Each player would have a permanent spot next to the creation of the sport. In an essence all KU players past present and future would be commemorated in a museum. I would think future recruits would want to see themselves a part of the original history. If I had 9 plus million dollars I bet someone would like my idea.

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 9 months ago

The real kudos need to go to Josh Swade. Without his efforts, none of this would have been possible. If you don't know who he is, go back and watch the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary. Josh is a real mensch!

actorman 7 years, 9 months ago

Absolutely! Man, was that a fun show to watch or what?

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 9 months ago

This will be exactly what James Naismith always wanted....the Basket Ball Hall of Fame in Lawrence, KS at the University of Kansas. There is only one place to drive up Naismith Drive, past Naismith Hall, enter Allen Field House, through the Booth Hall of Fame, cross Naismith Court, then finish up the day with a meal viewing The Original Rules of Basket Ball. Truely an incredible experience awaits all of us. Naismith would be very happy.

actorman 7 years, 9 months ago

No, just $70,000, like the designing of the new KU logo.

Kent Wells 7 years, 9 months ago

Well played, actorman! When I've been drinking, the way the K sort of tickles the Us butt is kinda sexy.

Jack Jones 7 years, 9 months ago

And ~ tell me again just where the center of the college basketball universe is located. Thank you, Josh Swade, Mr. and Mrs. Booth, Mr. and Mrs. DeBruce ~ and everyone else who have contributed toward this absolutely amazing event. What a wonderful story line ~ with the perfect ending.

Mick Allen 7 years, 9 months ago

Also thank you to Dr. Mark Allen, who brought Booth and Swade together initially. If he had not coordinated this part of the process, they might not have ever met. 30 30 is an excellent documentary. Swade's perseverance is impressive. The RULES are where they should be.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 9 months ago

The rules can't go into the Booth Family Athletics Hall of Fame?

KGphoto 7 years, 9 months ago

"When David Booth shelled out $4.3 million to purchase James Naismith’s Original Rules of Basketball, the longtime Kansas donor made one request.

Booth said he would donate the two-page, typewritten document to the University Kansas, where Naismith taught and coached. But only if the school agreed to provide a new structure to display the artifact.”

-Jason King, ESPN

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 9 months ago

They are building a new school of business? Nice! I was hoping that would happen soon. Engineering building was pretty out dated too, glad to hear.

I just hope they keep the restaurant/merchandise part classy, cant say im a big fan of the commercialization of what is the ultimate sports venue in the world.

rockchalk_dpu 7 years, 9 months ago

I am excited to have these rules on display in their rightful home, however I am strongly against the proposed plan to build a new structure on the northeast corner of the Fieldhouse. Part of the charm of driving down Naismith is seeing this grand old building which has remained almost the same from the day it opened nearly 60 years ago. I have to believe that there is a better way to present these rules to the public that would not have such an impact, and the student meeting rooms and coffee shops could find another home on that end of campus. Disappointed with BGL and the other planners on this one.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 9 months ago

I understand your feelings and part of me agrees although Allen Fieldhouse has hardly remained "unchanged" with the connections to offices and practice facilities, the addition of the Booth Hall of Fame, the garage pedestrian bridge, etc.

Sometimes, design sacrifices have to be made to insure the greater good is served. I cannot imagine The Rules being anywhere but somehow connected to Allen. The subsidiary activities are a necessary component to provide viability to the structure's future function. One thing for sure, however, is that it damn well better match as closely as possible the material, design and color pallette of Allen or I WILL COME DOWN IN THE LORD'S VENGEANCE!!! :)

rockchalk_dpu 7 years, 9 months ago

Oak, thanks for the reply. I certainly see your points, especially that certain steps must be taken to avoid the having to build an entirely new arena down the road (I shudder at the thought). I just think that this could be done in a better way than what has been proposed. You are correct that there have been several changes to Allen over the years. My comment should have been more descriptive in that the view of Allen from Naismith Drive is what has been largely unchanged (except addition of Booth HoA), and therefore why I am worried about waht this 3-story "arm" will look like when it comes out of the northeast corner of the Fieldhouse. I feel like that will dominate the landscape too much and overpower the traditional look of the Fieldhouse facade facing Naismith.

Though I certainly agree with you that this better be constructed with limestone from the same/similar quary, and have a red roof and similar windows or I will be more frustrated than I already am.

Marcia Parsons 7 years, 9 months ago

I didn't think they could ever make the Hall of Fame work, and it actually turned out to be great. I'm sure they'll do the same with this addition.

Lance Hobson 7 years, 9 months ago

I seriously hope this sprawl does absolutely nothing to change the facade of Allen Field House. KU keeps getting more crowded and these new buildings really do take away from the simple charm and beauty of the campus.

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