LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas is moving forward with a transformational development project to create a north gateway to campus that includes new multi-use space and reimagined Kansas Football facilities.
The project will transform the area near the intersection of 11th and Mississippi streets with new facilities that may include a mix of conference and entertainment space, retail and other functions that drive regional economic growth and generate revenue for academic programming.
The project includes major upgrades to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium – one of the nation’s oldest football venues – to create a world-class experience for fans while providing Kansas Football the facilities it needs to compete at the highest level, as well as renovations to the Anderson Family Football Complex.
KU has chosen HNTB, a global leader in multi-purpose entertainment venue design, as the lead architect, in partnership with Lawrence-based Multistudio. KU has also retained Nations Group, a national owner’s representative firm specializing in university athletics venues and mixed-use facilities. The firms will help KU develop more specific plans, timelines and cost estimates in the weeks ahead.
“The intersection near 11th and Mississippi streets is a primary campus entrance for prospective students, alumni and guests who are touring KU and visiting David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium,” said Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. “For these reasons, it’s the ideal location to develop a new gateway with multi-use 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 with renovations to Anderson Family Football Complex, as well as site preparation work related to storm water, sanitation, Wi-Fi availability and electrical system upgrades, in the first half of 2023. KU will select a construction manager in the weeks ahead.
The project will be funded primarily with private donations, economic development funds, premium seating sales in the stadium, and future development opportunities that will be created on the site.
REVENUE-GENERATING POTENTIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
KU leaders in recent years have pursued strategies to generate revenue for academic programming and spur regional economic growth by hosting conferences and events on campus. Development of this project positions KU to pursue these goals in a way that benefits the university, the city of Lawrence and the broader region.
KU has commissioned an economic impact study to analyze the potential uses of mixed-use space that will be developed as part of the project. Additionally, the university will soon begin the process of selecting a project developer to help formulate a vision for how the mixed-use facilities in and around the reimagined football stadium could be used.
Goals for a reimagined David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium include upgrades to the in-game experience such as seating bowl design with improved sightlines that increase fan comfort and bring fans closer to the field; expanded concessions, restrooms and accessible seating locations; improved concourse circulation; and new premium amenities such as club seats, loge seats and ledge suites. Stadium design will include multi-use spaces to augment any convention and conference facilities that may be part of the project. Kansas Athletics is partnering with Elevate Sports Ventures to conduct fan focus groups to solicit feedback on what fans want in a reimagined stadium. Additionally, Elevate recently completed a survey to understand what seating options and amenities are most important to fans.
“This project is unmatched in its vision to benefit a broad range of KU constituents while signaling a new era for Kansas Football,” said Travis Goff, director of athletics. “Once complete, this project will ensure our football program has the facilities it needs to compete at the highest level and provide the best-possible game day experience for student-athletes and fans. Moreover, we are thrilled this project goes beyond football to benefit the entire university and the regional economy.”
The university’s architecture and design partners will meet next week with Football Head Coach Lance Leipold to discuss improvements to the Anderson Family Football Complex, which will focus on the student-athlete and recruitment experience.
“This project will have a profound impact on the future of Kansas Football and the entire community,” Leipold said. “It will specifically impact our current and future football players, who will now have a state-of-the-art facility to train in. With an up-to-date facility and a commitment to improve Anderson Family Football Complex, our day-to-day operation will be more efficient and effective. This is an exciting time for Kansas Football, and this certainly adds to it.”
Additional details about the project will be provided in the weeks ahead.
“Now, more than ever, college athletics – and certainly sustained success in the sport of football – are critical to the health and vibrancy of our entire university community,” Goff said. “There is tremendous excitement for this project among donors and partners who believe in KU’s mission, and in partnership with KU Endowment, we’ll be reaching out in earnest to our benefactors and supporters to ensure this ambitious vision becomes reality.”