Lawrence — The University of Kansas is advancing a transformational development project to create a northern gateway to campus that includes new multi-purpose spaces and a reimagined Kansas football facility.
The project will transform the area near the intersection of 11th and Mississippi Streets with new amenities that may include meeting and entertainment spaces, retail and other functions to drive regional economic growth and generate revenue for academic programming.
The project includes major upgrades to the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, one of the oldest football stadiums in the United States, creating a world-class experience for fans while providing Kansas football with the facilities needed to play at the highest level, as well as renovating the stadium for the Anderson Family football field.
KU selected HNTB, a global leader in multi-use entertainment venue design, as lead architect, in collaboration with Lawrence-based Multistudio. KU also retains National Group, a national owner-representative company specializing in collegiate sports venues and mixed-use facilities. These companies will help KU develop more specific plans, timelines and cost estimates in the coming weeks.
“The intersection near 11th and Mississippi Streets is the main campus entrance for prospective students, alumni and guests visiting KU and those visiting the David Booth Memorial Stadium in Kansas,” said President Douglas A. Girod. “For these reasons, it is an ideal location to develop new gateways with multi-purpose facilities to better serve these audiences, generate revenue for academic programming, drive economic growth in the region, and reimagine our football facilities.”
The project will begin renovations to the Anderson Family Football Stadium in the first half of 2023, as well as site preparation related to stormwater, sanitation, Wi-Fi availability and electrical system upgrades. KU will select a construction manager within a few weeks first.
Funding for the project will come primarily from private donations, economic development funds, premium seating sales in the stadium and future development opportunities that will be created on site.
Income potential and economic development
In recent years, KU leaders have sought strategies to generate revenue for academic programming and stimulate regional economic growth by hosting conferences and events on campus. The development of this project enables KU to achieve these goals in a way that benefits the University, the City of Lawrence and the wider region.
KU has commissioned an economic impact study to analyse the potential use of the mixed-use space that will be developed as part of the project. Additionally, the university will soon begin selecting project developers to help develop a vision for how to use the reimagined mixed-use facility on and off the football pitch.
Goals for the reimagined David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium include upgrades to the in-game experience, such as seating bowl design, improved sightlines, increased fan comfort and closer proximity to the stadium; expanded concession areas, restrooms and accessible seating; improved lobby circulation; and new premium amenities such as club seating, box seating and bay window suites. The stadium design will include multi-purpose spaces to augment any conference and meeting facilities that may be part of the project. Kansas Athletics is partnering with Elevate Sports Ventures to host fan focus groups to solicit feedback from fans on the need to reimagine stadiums. Additionally, Elevate recently completed a survey to find out which seating options and amenities matter most to fans.
“The vision for this program is unparalleled, benefiting a wide range of KU members while marking a new era for Kansas football,” said Athletics Director Travis Goff. “Once completed, this project will ensure our football program has the facilities needed to compete at the highest level and provide the best matchday experience for student-athletes and fans. Additionally, we are delighted that this program goes beyond football to enable the entire Universities and regional economies benefit.”
The university’s architecture and design partners will meet football head coach Lance Leipold next week to discuss improvements to the Anderson Family Football Complex, which will focus on student-athletes and recruiting experiences.
“This project will have a profound impact on the future of Kansas football and the entire community,” Leipold said. “This will particularly impact our current and future football players, who will now have state-of-the-art training facilities. With the latest facilities and commitment to improving the Anderson Family Football Field, our day-to-day operations will be more efficient and effective. For Kansas Football Coming That said, it’s an exciting time, and that definitely adds to it.”
More details on the project will be provided in the coming weeks.
“Now more than ever, college athletics — and of course, the continued success of football — is critical to the health and vitality of our entire college community,” Gove said. “Donors and partners who believe in KU’s mission are very excited about this project, and we will work with KU Endowment to sincerely engage with our donors and supporters to ensure this ambitious vision becomes a reality.”