Sunday, June 15, 2008

The final countdown

Anderson football complex nearly complete

The new Anderson Family Football Complex at Kivisto Field is shown between two new football practice fields and Memorial Stadium.

The new Anderson Family Football Complex at Kivisto Field is shown between two new football practice fields and Memorial Stadium.


Virtual tour of the Anderson Family Football Complex

Take a virtual tour through the new Anderson Family Football Complex.

The television sets were delivered the other day - 57 of 'em.

Ranging in size from a piddling 32 inches to a massive 60 (measured diagonally), the flat-screen, high-def plasma wonders remain boxed, waiting to be hung.

But the walls and the wiring and the 57 wall mounts are raised, wired and bolted on as work on the 80,000-square-foot Anderson Family Football Complex - the soon-to-be-home for Kansas University football - screams toward completion.

Where before visitors to the state-of-the-art digs were asked to imagine the complex in all its glory, now they needn't merely imagine. Rather than close their eyes and wonder how the 130-seat auditorium, for example, will look, they now can play with the controls that raise and lower the projector screen from the nearly complete ceiling.

"Overwhelmingly, people have been really positive about it. Current players, recruits, parents : everybody's just been really overwhelmingly positive," said Brad Nachtigal, KU's associate athletics director for capital projects, who estimated the $31 million facility was 90-percent completed.

Contractually, Turner Construction was to have the complex finished by Aug. 1, but Nachtigal said KU's football coaches and support staff should be able to move into their new home by mid-July.

It should be a relatively painless move.

"One of the less challenging aspects of the move is that it's all new equipment," Nachtigal said. "We don't have to move all the old equipment. It's just moving personal items, files."

'It's all very functional'

Even the equipment in the 8,500-square-foot, underground weight room is all new, down to the weights and custom-built workout stations.

The complex is chock-full of shiny new toys, from the functional - like the moveable storage systems throughout - to the wicked-cool - like the SMART Boards on the position meeting-room walls. The interactive whiteboards will allow coaches to diagram plays, then print them out.

But to Nachtigal, the feature that stands out the most is the building's overall functionality.

For instance, the lower level is laid out so players can go directly from the shower to the hydrotherapy area, for instance, from one wet area to another without having to navigate a dry area.

Players needing only to be taped can duck into a taping area without having to negotiate offices or other training-room areas.

An elevator runs directly from just off the loading dock to the lounge set aside for entertaining recruits, so caterers won't have to traipse around the complex with their wares and instead can report directly to the kitchen.

"It's all very well planned out," Nachtigal said. "It's all very functional."

'All the latest and greatest'

While some of the minutiae might be lost on the complex's new inhabitants, some of the niceties can't be missed.

Like the TVs. Six of them will go in the players' locker room. Any guesses where the 60-inch behemoth is headed? (Hint: think reigning national coach of the year).

There also is a players' lounge, with another big screen, video games and, likely, a foosball table.

And there are other nifty touches, like a video-taping tower looming above the new practice fields that is connected directly to the media room for immediate access to practice footage.

"It has all the latest and greatest technology," Nachtigal said.

The complex also features a seven-station computer lab, with room for academic-support staff to help football players with their studies in a sort of satellite academic-support center.

Of course, as nice as it is, the Anderson Family Football Complex won't win a game for the Jayhawks next fall, but it might help them win a battle or two.

Their old facilities had become dated, and coaches groused about time lost shuttling between facilities across campus to the stadium.

Now everything is shiny and new and, just as important, centrally located.

"Until now, when kids were looking at competing schools, they had newer and nicer facilities," Nachtigal said. "Up to this point. I'm sure in the eye of an 18- or 19-year-old kid, that can make a difference. And this certainly can compete with anything in the conference."

A boon to other sports, too?

And the new crib indirectly could help KU's other sports, too.

With football's pending move across campus, Kansas' other sports will get some needed elbow room. The weight room that was open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate 600 student-athletes now only has to find time for 490.

"Most definitely it will help other sports," Nachtigal said. "I'm sure there were weight-room conflicts. And there's 12,000-some-odd additional square feet up there. We're still working with what to do with that. We'll have an additional 12,000-some square feet to work with. That obviously will help other sports, but we don't know exactly what we're going to do with it right now."

There also is one other unresolved issue.

Coach Mark Mangino - he of the 5-foot (measured diagonally) TV and a regular visitor these days to the job site - is known for his closed-door policies. In the past, practices were held in secrecy behind screened fences. Visitors were prohibited.

The new practice fields, however, were sited to the southeast of Memorial Stadium because the ground was level there. But they offer an unobstructed view from the Kansas Union or even Campanile Hill.

"That will be one of (Mangino's) challenges," Nachtigal said. "I'm sure when they want to do something really secret, they'll have to go to the stadium or to Anschutz Pavilion."


troutsee 14 years, 5 months ago

Nice tour. Exceptional complex. Good job narrating Johnathen except for one glaring mistake.....we play our games on Saturday, not Sunday.Looking for the Hawks to have a big year and to keep sawing wood.

NH_JHawk 14 years, 5 months ago

It's exciting to see both FB and BB receiving major upgrades. This speaks well for our future as KU sports fans. I'm sure I'll get a few comments from some of you suggesting otherwise, but Lew Perkins has been so good for KU Athletics. Orange Bowl ring and NCAA Championship ring. 'nuff said!

rockchalk_dpu 14 years, 5 months ago

Good to see that the article really focused on the TV's and how many there are/ how big they are. I bet those are really going to drive recruiting way up, not the amazing new weight room, the spacious locker room or stuff like that... While it is impressive that they have "tricked" the complex out, I wasn't able to find anywhere in the article about the new practice fields other than Nachtigal joking about secrecy. How bout some more information about offices, or facilities like that?

Joe Ross 14 years, 5 months ago

Facilities + program exposure = great recruiting.

741hawk 14 years, 5 months ago

Now that the football facilities are at the stadium, has anyone heard about plans to "walk" the team down the hill (through the crowd) to the locker rooms before the games? What a great new tradition that would be!

Kevin Millikan 14 years, 5 months ago

Those TV's are important for recruiting, don't kid yourself.

CougIsLJW 14 years, 5 months ago

"I wasn't able to find anywhere in the article about the new practice fields other than Nachtigal joking about secrecy."-rockchalk_dpu"And there are other nifty touches, like a video-taping tower looming above the new practice fields that is connected directly to the media room for immediate access to practice footage."

Joe Ross 14 years, 5 months ago

I wonder when we'll upgrade the outer facade to the stadium itself.I know our program isnt where Nebraska's is, but that should be the standard for a stadium. It's beautiful.,_Lincoln

sevenyearhawk 14 years, 5 months ago

My only complaint about the complex is that it looks too different than the stadium itself, I wished there had been more effort made to make it match ...It can be done, take the Booth Hall of Athletics for example!

John Strayer 14 years, 5 months ago

Does someone have a thing about Coach Mangino having a 60 inch television?? How many times does it need to be mentioned?Get over it....who really cares??

14 years, 5 months ago

741hawk - Terry Allen actually came up with a similar idea while he was here. I believe the last season or two he was head coach, the players would walk down the hill through the fans on their way to the locker room. My guess is they had to be bussed to the top, then they would walk down. The fact that the facilities are located close to each other now makes the idea much more conducive.

KU 14 years, 5 months ago

Nebraska's stadium may look nice from the North and West sides, but the thing is rotting from the inside out. Sure, the skyboxes (west) are relatively new and the Osborne complex (north) is shiny new, but most of the stadium is archaic. Steel girders are rusting and concrete is crumbling. If KU can build momentum over the next 5 years, there might be a drive to expand Memorial. Its "guts" are in much better shape than NU's stadium and the setting is unparalleled.

Ryan Gerstner 14 years, 5 months ago

Yep, it happened during the TA years. I think it was a good idea; it just didn't work at KU. The team stunk and alcohol wasn't allowed for tailgating so the pre-game atmosphere really's nothing like it is today. The players were bused to the Hill and then walked down to a few friends and family led by the band from what I remember. Mangino probably had the opportunity to continue it, but likely canned the idea because it was mocked and he probably wanted to distance the team from anything associated with losing.

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