The University of Kansas announced plans Wednesday to renovate Allen Fieldhouse, the home of Jayhawk basketball for more than 60 years, featuring premium experiences for fans.
The project, slated to start this spring and conclude by the fall of 2024, is centered on improving the fan experience and updating the historic venue with modern-day amenities.
“Allen Fieldhouse is a preeminent destination for sports fans and has long been heralded as the best in-game experience in basketball,” Travis Goff, KU’s athletic director, said in a statement from KU. “There is no arena in sport that provides the tradition and character of the Fieldhouse, and this project will go to great lengths to maintain that, while dramatically enhancing the fan experience for our men’s and women’s basketball supporters.”
Renderings of the plan, showcased via Twitter, focused on cosmetic upgrades to the concourse and donor rooms. However, the project website also listed much more, including all new video and sound systems.
“Some of the most impactful changes include:
- Enhanced concessions and new LED lighting to elevate and unify all concourses, including an all-new premium “Jayhawk Pub” concept on the second level, which will have a variety of food options and expansive space for Jayhawk fans to meet and connect while at the fieldhouse.
- A new and expanded Rally House Team Store in the Booth Hall of Athletics that will feature a flexible mezzanine space above it.
- Reimagined and expanded premium hospitality spaces, including the donor atrium, which integrates into Allen Fieldhouse, as well as the Naismith Room.
- Enhanced seating opportunities to include additional chairbacks and accessible seating.
- Important investments into the in-game experience, including a new center-hung scoreboard, LED sports lighting, a new sound system, new digital signage and upgraded Wi-Fi.”
While improvements to Wi-Fi, sound/videoboards and concessions will certainly enhance the average fan experience, much of the project focuses on premium experiences.
Much of the funding for the project is likely to come from private donors, similar to how KU has planned the funding for the renovation of Memorial Stadium, which was announced just months ago.
“These renovations will enhance the gameday experience for Jayhawks, including our students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors,” KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said in the statement. “Additionally, these enhancements position KU Basketball to continue driving new student recruitment, alumni engagement and donor relations, all of which benefit the university and our broader academic mission.”
The renderings don’t include any images within the arena, and no views of what a “center-hung scoreboard” or “enhanced seating opportunities” would look like.
“This makes the best and coolest place to play college basketball that much better,” Bill Self, KU men’s basketball coach, said in the statement. “The fan experience will truly be enhanced, and our team will benefit greatly. We’ve always taken great pride in having the best fans and the best homecourt in the country. These major improvements inside the arena, and throughout all three floors of the concourse, ensure that Allen Fieldhouse will always be recognized as a top venue in America, regardless of sport.”
In addition to Allen Fieldhouse renovations, Wagnon Student Athlete Center will also be remodeled to serve as a welcoming door for fans, recruits, donors and student-athletes.
“This is a strong statement to our commitment to not just sustaining but elevating Kansas Basketball to new heights,” Goff said. “It will be a game-changer for our programs, student-athletes and fans.”
KU is working with local design firm Multistudio, a Lawrence- and Kansas City-based architecture and design firm that is also working on the Memorial Stadium project.
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Jack Ritter (he/him), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a student at the University of Kansas studying journalism. He is also a graduate of Lawrence High School, where he was the editor-in-chief of The Budget Online.