Topeka The proposed $17.5 million apartment building for Kansas University basketball players was endorsed Wednesday by the Kansas Board of Regents.
The measure passed 8-1 with only Kenny Wilk of Basehor opposed.
"I understand the need. I just can't quite get over the sticker shock," Wilk said.
Even several board members who voted for the proposal said the price tag was astronomical.
The project for south of Allen Fieldhouse would include 66 furnished apartments. Regent Shane Bangerter of Dodge City said that pencils out to approximately $265,000 per apartment.
"They could be living in a really nice house in Lawrence for that kind of money," Bangerter said.
Regent Ann Murguia of Kansas City, Kan., said a luxury apartment building recently opened up in her area for half the square footage cost.
But Regent Ed McKechnie of Arcadia said KU is "recruiting for a world class program." He said basketball recruits visiting schools in California see a view of the Pacific Ocean.
Theresa Gordzica, chief business and financial planning officer, said the price may seem high, but it also includes a commons area, a kitchen, parking lot and a half-court basketball court.
She said of the total, about $9 million to $10 million will be raised through private funds. The rest will be made up with bond proceeds paid off by rental income from the building.
Of the 66 apartments, 32 would be for student-athletes and 34 for students who are not athletes.
KU will need authorization from the Legislature for the bonds. Murguia said given the conservative politics dominating the Legislature that may difficult.