Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Regents OK $26 million indoor practice facility for KU football

Meeting on the campus of Wichita State University, the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday authorized the University of Kansas to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for the Jayhawk football team.

Meeting on the campus of Wichita State University, the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday authorized the University of Kansas to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for the Jayhawk football team.


— The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday gave the University of Kansas authority to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for a football team that hasn’t had a winning record since 2008.

Meeting on the campus of Wichita State University, the board voted unanimously to authorize KU to revise its current capital improvement plan to include construction of the new facility, even though a final location has not yet been determined.

The KU Athletics Department wants to build the facility close to Memorial Stadium. The current indoor facility, the Anschutz Sports Pavilion, is near Allen Fieldhouse, 0.7 miles from Memorial Stadium and is a facility that has to be shared by several sports teams.

The indoor practice facility is just one part of an overall $300 million renovation project that KU has planned for Memorial Stadium, a project that is expected to be funded entirely with private donations.


Meeting on the campus of Wichita State University, the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday authorized the University of Kansas to build a $26 million indoor practice facility for the Jayhawk football team.


University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod attends a Kansas Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Wichita.

That’s only slightly less than the $350 million that KU invested in the Central District development project, which involved the construction of five new buildings including a science building, a residence hall and dining facility, a parking facility and a power plant.

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod, however, said it’s still not certain that the entire $300 million stadium renovation will be funded.

“First of all, it’s really multiple projects,” he said during an interview before the Regents meeting. “The indoor practice facility is the first. Then there’s two to three, maybe even four phases of the stadium, and we will step through those as resources and interest allow. So whether we ever get to all $300 million or not, we’ve had indications from our donors that they want to see what the whole thing would look like and then we’ll start working on it in pieces.”

“It’s also a lot cheaper than knocking it down and building from scratch, which a lot of schools have done,” he added.

The project comes at a time when the KU football program has been coming under pressure for the fact that it has won only nine games, and only three Big 12 conference games, in the last five seasons.

But Girod defended the project, saying it’s necessary for the Jayhawks to have any hope of turning the team around.

“There is a chicken-and-egg phenomenon here,” he said during an interview before the board meeting. “We’re the only school in the Big 12 that doesn’t have a dedicated indoor practice facility. At the end of the day, when you’re recruiting kids, these things do matter. Would it be easier to do all this if we had a winning record? No question about it. We’re digging our way out of a pretty big hole, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”

Although KU officials initially planned to erect the facility on the same site as the current outdoor practice fields just south of the stadium, Girod said the university is now looking at other sites around Memorial Stadium.

“We’re actually thinking right now, it’s probably more on the west side of the stadium than right along Mississippi Street for a number of reasons,” he said. “So we’re trying to get permission from the Board (of Regents) that’ll allow us to dive deeply into those details. There are actually at least three sites around the stadium that we’d like to look at.”

Girod told the board that KU plans to engage the campus and surrounding communities in conversations to determine the best location for the facility. He said the university hopes to begin construction after the current football season ends Nov. 25, and to complete the project before the start of the 2018 season.


Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

Doug Girod lacks a spine. We live in a vacuum in Kansas, outside of which the rest of the country has moved on and must be shaking their heads at us wheat-waving bumpkins. Running clean programs and doing the the right things are certainly positives, but while we should not deviate from those things, we can't let those goals blind us to other realities: largely, that being competitive in college athletics requires more than nice buildings and beautiful uniforms. You need coaches with killer instincts who will yell at players, transferring a sense of fire and urgency into them. Somehow, this seems to run counter to the culture that the University is being led by. Mangino, evidently, was Mr. Hyde to David Beaty's Dr. Jekyll, but we see which has been more successful despite one's clearly being a better fit for the mold of the attitudes and images the University wishes to project. This "nice guy" schtick at Kansas as a template for success is belied by the fire you see night in, night out, emanating from Coach Bill Self. "Nice" doesn't win games. It doesn't put points on the board.

Fire does.

And Kansas is losing theirs in the football program, ever since Mangino left.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 2 months ago

"We’re digging our way out of a pretty big hole, but you’ve got to start somewhere." There is a far more obvious and far cheaper and far more effective place to start than with a $25 million indoor practice facility. This whole approach is ludicrous. To your point, it just makes us more of a laughing stock.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't really understand this stance either, but the fact that he isn't firing the AD and the coach doesn't mean he lacks spine. Maybe it just means he doesn't agree with you.

Brad Avery 1 year, 2 months ago

Or maybe it means he is an academician who doesn't know or care anything about running a football program or hiring the right people who do. It could also mean that he doesn't give a rip about what KU fans think of their athletic director and football coach. I am not sure if a poll were taken who in the fan base would "approve" of the job either are doing, but I would submit that a large majority would "disapprove."

Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

He's inept if he disagrees with me. Not because agreeing with me is necessarily smart. But the need to fire Zenger and Beaty is obvious and self-evident.

He can disagree all he wishes, but doing so is a sign he's not qualified to handle his role at least insofar as it relates to oversight of the Athletic Department.

David Robinett 1 year, 2 months ago

Are usually like your comments Joe but in this case that is pretty unfair.

Yes there has not been that much on the field that justifies keeping the A.D. and the coach but it just may turn out that the cooler heads who are in position to prevail will ultimately have made the right decision.

Brad Avery 1 year, 2 months ago

KU could spend billions on facilities, but without a coach who knows how to win, it's all a waste. The facilities they have are not that old.

[''] 1 year, 2 months ago

And who exactly dug this "big hole?" None other than our AD Zenger with that Charlie Weis hiring. Is there an AD in college sports history with a 10-60 record in its football hires? Please name one.

Edward Daub 1 year, 2 months ago

And BGL was impressed enough to give Zenger a Raise and Contract Extension before She Exited! Girod Inherited the Current Situation.

[''] 1 year, 2 months ago

TCU began winning, then its fan base begged for new facilities. WIN first then the fan base will empty their pockets in droves. We have better facilities than most MAC schools and every single one of them can beat a Beaty-coached team in Memorial Stadium by 2 touchdowns.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 2 months ago

The academic egg heads don't like drill seargents. They will do everything in their power to prevent KU ever hiring.another drill seargent because what the egg heads refuse to accept is that every young person should have a drill seagent in their lives, someone who takes no excuses, doesn't put up with any of their crap, demands more of them than they think they can give. Somehow that is such a base, demeaning, uncultured vision for KU football. God, I'm certainly glad they're not in charge of our military. Wait, we can now accept transgenders, they ARE in charge. God help us.

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