In this space in recent days, we’ve written about stadium construction that is underway at a couple of Big 12 campuses and reconstruction plans that are in place for another of the conference’s showcase venues.
The University of Kansas is also getting into the act with renovation work going on at KU’s longtime football facility (Memorial Stadium) and with the construction of a brand new facility where the Lady Jayhawks play their future softball games.
For as long as anyone can remember, the University of Kansas has held its football games and track and field competition at Kansas Memorial Stadium. That is all about to change, as the university is removing the track surface that surrounds the football playing field and replacing it with artificial turf.
The Kansas Relays, one of the oldest intercollegiate track and field competitions in the United States, has been held at Kansas Memorial Stadium since 1923, two years after the stadium was opened. The university moved its track facilities to a new location (Rock Chalk Park) earlier this year. As a result, it no longer is necessary to keep and maintain the track at Memorial Stadium.
“Rarely in facilities work do we get to do something that directly benefits players and fans at the same time,” Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger said in a statement issued by the KU athletic department. “We’ll have a larger safety zone for players and more usable practice space for the team.
“Fans will immediately appreciate the improved optics these changes will provide,” the Kansas athletic director added.
“During our recent discussions with players, coaches and fans, their highest priority was that we remove the track.”
Meanwhile, construction work continues at the Jayhawks new softball facility, where the Lady Jayhawks will play there softball games beginning in the 2015 season. They began installing the artificial turf this week.
According to KU officials, there will be 10 feet of asphalt between the turf and the stands. In addition, a fence will be replaced in the south end zone, where there isn’t permanent seating.
Kansas Memorial Stadium was built in 1920 and dedicated as a memorial to University of Kansas students who died in World War II. The historic Campanile bell tower, dedicated in 1955, sits high on a hill south of the stadium complex and offers a picturesque setting to the stadium grounds.