Kansas varsity ‘Gateway’ to development plans



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University of Kansas District construction will start end of the year Image: University of Kansas

The University of Kansas and Kansas Athletics recently announced the latest plans for the transformational Gateway District, which will feature a reimagined David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas (US), a new conference center and multiuse facilities that will enable year-round use and drive economic development in Lawrence.

‘University of Kansas’ stated that plans for the district also include a combination of new retail, dining and other amenities that will drive student recruitment and enhance the campus experience for the Kansas University students and employees.

The University of Kansas is a public research university with its main campus in Lawrence, Kansas, US. Two branch campuses are in the Kansas City metropolitan area on the Kansas side: The university’s medical school and hospital in Kansas City, Kansas, the Edwards Campus in Overland.

The 47,233-capacity David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium is a football stadium located in Lawrence, Kansas (US), on the campus of the University of Kansas. The stadium was opened in 1921, and is the seventh oldest college football stadium in the country, and is widely recognized as the oldest West of the Mississippi River.

‘University of Kansas’ further stated that the latest plans for the district – including the first architectural renderings of the project -were shared recently at an event held at the Jayhawk Welcome Center, hosted by the University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, Kansas Director of Athletics Travis Goff, and other members of the university community.

Said Douglas Girod, University Chancellor, “The Gateway District is a once-in-a-generation project to transform our campus and drive economic development throughout the region. Specifically, this project will create exciting new amenities for students, employees and visitors while providing Kansas Football the facilities it needs to compete at the highest level.”

The project will be completed in a multiphase approach. The first phase of the project will include additional renovations to, and expansion of, the Anderson Family Football Complex, the training hub for Kansas Football. Additionally, the first phase will include the construction of new Southwest, West and North sides of the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, as well as a new conference center on the North end.

The $31-million football complex adjacent to the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium opened in August 2008. The 80,000-square-foot complex includes academic areas, locker rooms, facilities for weight and cardio training, hydrotherapy, audio-visual screenings and nutrition, coaches’ offices, two adjacent practice fields, and parking lots.

The Kansas Jayhawks football program is the intercollegiate football program of the University of Kansas. The program is classified in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Bowl Subdivision, and the team competes in the Big 12 Conference. The David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium serves as their home ground.

Indiana (US)-based the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student-athletics among about 1,100 schools in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. It also organizes the athletic programs of colleges and helps over 500,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports.

The NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as the Division I-A, is the highest level of college football in the United States. The FBS consists of the largest schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. As of the 2023 season, there are 10 Conferences and 133 schools in FBS.

The Big 12 Conference is a college athletic Conference headquartered in Irving, Texas (US). It consists of 14 full-member universities. It is a member of Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for all sports.

Construction on the first phase will begin at the conclusion of the 2023 football season, and will be completed by the beginning of the 2025 season. Kansas Football will continue to play at the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium during construction and will have reduced capacity for the 2024 season. Fans are encouraged to purchase season tickets for the 2023 season to have the opportunity to be in the stadium for the 2024 season.

The project will be primarily funded by private funds from donors and no tuition dollars or State general funds will be used. Kansas Athletics has set an initial fundraising goal of $300 million for the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and the Allen Fieldhouse capital projects, which is currently under construction. A total of $165 million in gifts and commitments have been secured, including $125 million since the project was announced last October. This represents unprecedented and record-shattering fundraising results, but additional support will be needed in order to fulfill the full vision.

The 16,300-capacity Allen Fieldhouse is an indoor arena on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kansas (US). It is home of the Kansas Jayhawks men’s and women’s basketball teams. The arena is named after Phog Allen, a former player and head coach for the Jayhawks whose tenure lasted 39 years.

Funding for the project will also include $35 million in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds appropriated to the Kansas University by the 2022 Kansas legislature, as well as up to $50 million through the Kansas Department of Commerce’s University Challenge Grant program. These funds will help fund the aspects of the Gateway District that will drive economic development, including the conference center and multiuse spaces. Additional funds may come from bonds issued by Kansas Athletics, the debt from which would be repaid from new revenue streams generated by the stadium.

Stated Travis Goff, Director of Athletics, “The cumulative impact of a world-class football operations complex and one of the finest game day venues in the country catapults Kansas Football, and our entire athletics program, into this critical next chapter. We have a proud history, but this unprecedented investment makes a powerful statement about an even brighter future and provides far-reaching impact for our university community, fans and football program. I am grateful for the leadership of Chancellor Girod and the visionary donors who have propelled this generational project forward.”

Future phases of the Gateway District and David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium will focus on the South and East portions of the stadium, as well as development of multiuse facilities to be used throughout the year to generate revenue for academic programing and student success. Although in the early stages of planning, the multiuse facilities will include a mix of amenities that further boost economic development in the area and advance the university’s academic mission, such as arts and entertaining, dining, retail, office spaces, and lodging.

The Gateway District, including the upgrades to the Anderson Family Football Complex and the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, will create a best-in-class experience for student-athletes, fans and supporters. The first phase of upgrades to Anderson was completed earlier this month when Kansas Football unveiled a new locker room and weight room.

The renovations to the Anderson Family Complex, to be completed as part of the first phase of the project, will equip the building with a state-of-the-art sports medicine center that will feature new hydrotherapy pools, cryotherapy chambers and infrared light therapy equipment. The building, which will be expanded North to connect to the stadium, will also have a new 2,300-square foot player lounge with a nutrition and fuel bar and will have nutrition fueling stations throughout the facility.

Plans are also in place for a 1,200-square foot state-of-the-art photo/video/audio content studio and a 2,400-square foot in-house student-services center with dedicated study rooms and player development and academic support facilities. The team will also have a 180-seat team meeting room with full view into the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. In addition, the facility will be equipped with a 2,400-square foot virtual practice walkthrough room with a video wall that can be combined with the new lobby of the building to create 5,500-square feet worth of multifunctional event space.

Added Lance Leipold, Kansas Football Head Coach, “This project is vital to the continued growth of our program. We are incredibly appreciative of the commitment shown by our generous donors, Chancellor Girod, Travis Goff, and many others. The substantial upgrades to the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and the Anderson Family Football Complex will greatly enhance the student-athlete experience. I am very much looking forward to seeing that come to life.”

The reconceptualized Northern entrance to the campus will undoubtedly help in the economic growth of the City of Lawrence and the University of Kansas. The mixed-use development is projected to amount to $2.4 billion in direct, indirect and induced spending and $1.4 billion in direct, indirect and induced earnings, while supporting an estimated 720 jobs. Construction of the mixed-use development will create an additional 670 temporary jobs, $2.2 million in State sales tax and $2.4 million in State personal income tax. An estimated 500,000 prospective students and guests who visit the University of Kansas each year would utilize and benefit from the Gateway District and the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

The upgrades to the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium will create an unprecedented fan experience in Lawrence with amenities suited for all fans. The new seating bowl will bring fans closer to the game action with the first row of seating four feet higher off the ground. On top of improved accessible seating and sight lines, there will be new chairback seating in the West and North seating areas and a videoboard that will be approximately two-and-a-half times larger and 60-feet closer to the field. There will be a 50 percent increase in area per seat and 50 percent more leg room throughout the stadium. Fans can also expect approximately 2,300 club seats in three different club spaces and unique social zones, along with suites 80 feet closer to the field. On the concourses, fans can expect four-times more food and beverage offerings and at least 1.5 times more restrooms.

The local design firms HNTB and Multistudio have taken the design lead on the Gateway District and David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

HNTB, headquartered in Kansas City, is a national leader in sports architecture and was the Architect of Record for the 65,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, and the lead Design Architect for the 68,500-capacity Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the 20,371-capacity Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio, and several other projects from coast to coast.

Located in Lawrence, the Multistudio places an emphasis on community improvement and immersion and is known as an innovator in the design industry.

The Architect of Record is the architect or architecture firm whose name appears on a building permit issued for a specific project on which that architect or firm performed services.

The Kansas University has also partnered with the Turner Construction Company as the Construction Manager for the project. Turner was named the No. 1 Construction Manager in the United States by Engineering News-Record and the No. 3 sports builder in the nation.

New York (US)-based the Turner Construction is an American construction company with presence in 20 countries. It is a subsidiary of the German company Hochtief. It is the largest domestic contractor in the United States as of 2020, with revenue of $14.41 billion in 2020.

In May, Legends, a global premium experiences company, and Kansas Athletics announced a comprehensive, long-term partnership focused on reimagining the fan experience at the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Legends are working with Kansas Athletics to optimize revenue generation and curate experiences for all Kansas University fans. The professional services development firm Nations Group is serving as the Owner’s Representative (an industry expert hired by the Owner of a building or facility project to act as the Owner’s advocate and represent their best interests) throughout the project, using their industry and market knowledge to assist Kansas Athletics in the project.

New York (US)-based Legends are a global premium experiences company that specializes in delivering holistic solutions for sports and entertainment organizations and venues.

Added Goff, “This project represents a new day for the University of Kansas. An ambitious vision and heightened aspirations require bold investment and earnest action. The Gateway District and the new David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium will deliver a profound experience and provide an impact that our student-athletes, fans and the broader community richly deserve.”

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