KU earmarks $22 million for new volleyball center, baseball stadium upgrade

The University of Kansas will ask the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday to approve a $12 million overhaul of the Jayhawks’ baseball stadium and for permission to build a new $10 million volleyball center on the campus in Lawrence. (Facebook)

The University of Kansas will ask the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday to approve a $12 million overhaul of the Jayhawks’ baseball stadium and for permission to build a new $10 million volleyball center on the campus in Lawrence.

 

Both projects would be privately financed and designed to enlarge seating for baseball games and volleyball matches to serve at least 3,000 fans.

The intent is to enhance 2,500-seat Hoglund Ballpark by ripping out metal bleachers to make room for 2,000 stadium seats and eight luxury boxes with a capacity of 40 people apiece. About 1,000 bleacher seats and 80 field-level seats would be placed along the left field line. Concessions and restrooms would be upgraded within a new concourse, and a new press box would be installed.

The KU baseball team’s clubhouse would be improved by addition of a weight room, coaching offices and storage areas. The visitor and umpire locker rooms are to be improved, and the visitor bullpen relocated. The baseball stadium south of Allen Fieldhouse opened in 1990, but has undergone a series of renovations.

Under the proposal submitted to the Board of Regents, the 1,300-seat Horejsi Family Athletics Center used as the home of KU volleyball since 1999 would be razed. The new volleyball-specific facility would be constructed at the same site west of Allen Fieldhouse.

The plan includes new lighting, sound system, video display and a minimum of 3,000 seats to compete with rivals in the Big 12 Conference, said Jim Marchiony, associate director of athletics at KU.

The Jayhawks won 22 or more matches and qualifyied for the NCAA Tournament each of the past five seasons. KU won its first Big 12 volleyball championship a year ago, reached the national semifinals in 2015 and is ranked 12th nationally this season with an 11-2 record through nonconference play.

“The KU volleyball program has been among the nation’s most successful over the past five years, which has resulted in season-long sellouts,” Marchiony said.

He said the larger venue would enable the university to host regional competition in the NCAA Tournament.

“With continued success and a record number of sold-out home matches,” KU’s proposal says, “the university seeks to expand seating and amenities for the volleyball team and Kansas athletics functions.”

Meanwhile, officials at Kansas State University proposed $2.5 million in renovations for RV Christian Track and Field in Manhattan. Cracking asphalt as well as the track’s interior and perimeter would be replaced. A taller hammer throw fence would be installed for safety reasons.

Competition and practice surfaces at the K-State track complex need to be improved in advance of the Big 12 Outdoor Championship in 2020, the proposal says.

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