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KU drops bonding request for athlete dorms

Updated: 2014-02-19T16:45:43Z

The Associated Press

— The University of Kansas is dropping a request to the state Legislature for bonding authority to build upscale apartments that would house basketball players and other students.

University spokesman Tim Caboni said Tuesday the decision to withdraw the bonding authority for the $17.5 million apartment project came after a House committee's "disappointing" decision last week to reject it, The Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The proposed project would build apartments near Allen Fieldhouse to house 66 students, 32 of whom would be men's and women's basketball players.

Each apartment would have a full kitchen, living and dining rooms, with lounges on each floor, two team meeting rooms, tutoring space and a multipurpose room. The project also would include a commons area, kitchen, parking lot and half-court basketball court.

University officials, and basketball coach Bill Self, have said the apartments are needed to help the school compete for recruits, and to improve security for the basketball players. The university also said between $9 million and $10 million would be raised through private funds, and the bonds would be paid off with revenue from the apartments.

Some members of the House Education Budget Committee last week called the project extravagant and suggested the school's athletic boosters could help build it.

Caboni said the university will explore other options to complete the project, but he didn't provide any details.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and a member of the Senate budget-writing committee, said the university made the right decision.

"I know the Legislature is concerned about bonding authority overall," Francisco said.

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