KU announces Allen Fieldhouse renovations: Details

Kansas athletic director Travis Goff speaks to the media at a press conference.

Kansas athletic director Travis Goff speaks to the media at a press conference.

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Additional chair-back seating, state-of-the art video boards and a new sound system and lighting are highlights of upcoming renovations to Allen Fieldhouse, the KU athletic department announced Wednesday.

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The project, which will be funded according to KU officials “in large part due to the generosity of longstanding KU supporters and multi-generational Jayhawk families, who are coming together to elevate the experience for all patrons at Allen Fieldhouse,” will begin this spring and will be “achieved in two phases in order to navigate the 2023-24 basketball season.”

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The project is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2024. The cost of the project was not revealed Wednesday.

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“Allen Fieldhouse is a preeminent destination for sports fans and has long been heralded as the best in-game experience in basketball,” KU athletic director Travis Goff said in a release.

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“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. This is a strong statement to our commitment to not just sustaining but elevating Kansas Basketball to new heights, and it will be a game changer for our programs, student-athletes and fans.”

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According to KU, the “concourses on all three levels of Allen Fieldhouse will be reimagined. There will also be expanded donor space throughout the venue that will increase capacity, provide a world-class gameday experience, and allow for additional opportunities for special events on non-gamedays.”

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The KU news release indicated “the inside of the arena will also experience significant improvements, while maintaining the history and tradition of the fieldhouse, with additional chairback seating, state-of-the-art videoboards, along with a new sound system and lighting.”

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The second and third level concourses, which serve as the access point to the seating bowl for 80 percent of fans, will, according to KU, “dramatically increase concession points-of-sale and boast on-site cooking, which will elevate concessions and catering throughout the fieldhouse.”

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“This makes the best and coolest place to play college basketball that much better,” 20th-year KU coach Bill Self said. “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.”

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In addition to the upgrades at the Fieldhouse, Wagnon Student Athlete Center will also be remodeled. Wagnon will also reconfigure space for current athletes, coaches and staff.

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“These renovations will enhance the gameday experience for Jayhawks, including our students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors,” said Chancellor Douglas Girod. “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.”

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Women’s coach Brandon Schneider said: “These improvements are continued investments in our basketball programs, and it demonstrates a commitment to solidifying Allen Fieldhouse as the very best place to play. I am excited our fans will get to enjoy a first-class experience each time they come through the doors. This will have a major impact on our program moving forward and will make it an even better experience for our student-athletes.”

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The renovations and enhancements to the Fieldhouse and Wagnon will be headed by local design firm Multistudio.

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KU posted on Twitter a video showing some renderings of the renovated fieldhouse.

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Other specifics in KU’s release mention …

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• 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.

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• A new and expanded Rally House Team Store in the Booth Hall of Athletics that will feature a flexible mezzanine space above it.

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• Reimagined and expanded premium hospitality spaces, including the donor atrium, which integrates into Allen Fieldhouse, as well as the Naismith Room.

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• Enhanced seating opportunities to include additional chair backs and accessible seating.

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• 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.

this story was originally published March 8, 2023, 1:49 PM.

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Gary Bedore covers all aspects of Kansas basketball for The Star — the current team as well as former players and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, as well as Lisle, Ill.