University of Kansas

KU Athletics renderings show major changes to football stadium as part of $350M plan

Kansas Athletics has unveiled renderings for the renovation of 97-year-old Memorial Stadium, part of a five-year, $350 million fundraising effort that was officially announced by KU on Friday night.

The project, called “Raise The Chant,” will earmark roughly $315 million for football while also providing upgrades for Allen Fieldhouse, volleyball’s Horejsi Center and baseball’s Hoglund Ballpark.

“It’s an exciting day,” KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said. “You dream of days like this in your career when you can announce these types of numbers.”

Zenger first spoke about the Memorial Stadium renovation at a Kansas City alumni event in June. Full details were disclosed Friday, which included plans to:

▪ Construct a $15 million indoor football practice facility immediately following this season.

▪ Make $170 million in improvements to the south end zone and west side of the stadium after the 2018 season, which KU calls a “transformational construction” that includes premium seating, Founders’ Suites, a West Side Club Lounge, reserved chairback seating, a Letterwinners’ Club and a renovation of the suite tower with high-speed elevators.

▪ Enhance the north end zone and stadium’s east side at a to-be-determined time. The $130 million overhaul, according to KU, would include Legacy Loge Boxes with in-seat service.

KU didn’t announce what the new capacity would be or how many suites would be added, but renderings of the project show two new video boards in the north end zone, with the east and west stands splitting into multiple tiers with new suites. The north end zone seating will be squared off, opposed to the current bowl construction, and a new seating complex will be built in the south end zone, which will close off the stadium.

“A competitive football program benefits the entire university and is important for KU to continue to be a strong member of the Big 12 Conference,” KU chancellor Douglas Girod said. “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 upgraded Memorial Stadium will have enhanced fan amenities, which will include suites, lounges, reserved chairback seating and viewing decks. Expanded concourses and concession options also will be added along with new premium seating options.

KU alumnus David Booth — whose name is on the Jayhawks’ hall of athletics — has made a $50 million pledge, the largest in the program’s history. That money will be distributed over five years. Girod and Zenger also announced Friday that Stu Horejsi had pledged $10 million for the new 3,000-seat volleyball arena.

KU Athletics also will be receiving more money from a new rights agreement, signing a 12-year extension with Adidas. The new pact — 14 years in total — will provide $191 million in sponsorship and apparel. Zenger said more information on the new contract would be available once the final paperwork was completed.

“Very thankful to them for joining us and growing with us,” Zenger said.

Changes also are planned for Allen Fieldhouse, with improvements mostly focused on the second- and third-level concourses. There also will be suites added to the donor atrium, a luxury section located between Allen Fieldhouse and the team’s practice gym that serves alcohol during men’s basketball games.

The athletic department’s $12 million renovation of Hoglund Ballpark, meanwhile, was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents earlier this week.

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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