Competitive Boost

Gifts kick off campaign to update athletic facilities


Fans attending football games at KU this year will likely notice a big change: A new indoor practice facility directly west of Memorial Stadium. The facility is part of a planned five-year, $350-million capital projects improvement plan to transform various athletic venues. Of the total price tag, $300 million will go toward revamping Memorial Stadium and the remaining $50 million to Allen Fieldhouse and other Kansas Athletics facilities.

The “Raise the Chant” campaign got a boost thanks to two leadership gift commitments. Alumnus David Booth, of Austin, Texas, committed $50 million — the largest Athletics gift in KU’s history — for improvements to historic Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse. In recognition of his support, the Board of Regents approved renaming the stadium the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Alumnus Stewart Horejsi and his family, of Salina, committed $10 million for a new Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.

The transformation of football facilities is slated to be completed in phases. KU is the only school in the Big 12 without an indoor football practice facility, so adding one is the first priority. After that, plans call for improvements to the south end zone and the west side of Memorial Stadium. Enhancements will then be made to the north end zone and the stadium’s east side. Other planned additions include suites, expanded concourses with viewing decks and premium concession options.

Booth said he was impressed with Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger’s vision. “I am proud to support my alma mater’s athletics program. I believe Sheahon’s plan for football and basketball is essential not only to the future of Kansas Athletics, but also to the university as a whole,” Booth said.

Booth is an avid Jayhawk fan and donor. He purchased and donated to KU Naismith’s original “Rules of Basket Ball,” housed in the DeBruce Center. Previously his family funded the Booth Family Hall of Athletics in Allen Fieldhouse. He also made a leadership gift for Capitol Federal Hall, the School of Business home.

Major gifts for the football project also have been committed by alumni Dana and Sue Anderson, of Lawrence, and the Mike Beatty family, of Salina.

“A competitive football program benefits the entire university and is important for KU to continue being a strong member of the Big 12 Conference,” said Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. “In recent years, we have transformed the university with nearly $1 billion in new and renovated facilities, and this is the next step in that transformation.”

The new Horejsi volleyball facility will feature additional seating to accommodate the growing popularity of the successful KU volleyball program, and a hospitality area that further connects Horejsi with the donor atrium in Allen Fieldhouse.

“My family and I have been thrilled to watch all the success of KU volleyball as it outgrew the current Horejsi Family Athletic Center,” Horejsi said. “We loved the concept of the new arena, especially Sheahon’s vision of connecting a hospitality area to the existing one in Allen Fieldhouse. That will take fan enjoyment to a new level. We look forward to watching great Big 12 and NCAA matches in the new Horejsi.”

Hoglund Ballpark’s renovations include plans to replace the existing grandstand with a 2,000-seat stadium with 80 field-level suite seats and eight press box-level suites. It also includes adding 1,000 bleacher seats on the left-field baseline.

As for Allen Fieldhouse, plans call for concourse renovations to the second and third levels to bring those areas on par with the renovations that have been done on the first level.

ROSITA ELIZALDE-MCCOY

FAN FRIENDLY: Improvements to the football stadium will enhance the experience in the stands and on the field.
REFRESHING CHANGE: Updates to the second and third level concourses of Allen Fieldhouse will complement the legendary game-day atmosphere.
SPACE TO SERVE: The new Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena will have more seating for the popular program. The team has had back-to-back sold out seasons and a 28–2 home record since 2015.
TIME TO RALLY: Seating expansion and improvements are planned for the Jayhawk faithful at Hoglund Ballpark.