KU athletic facilities greatly improved under Zenger's watch

Jon Kirby, Publisher- Football Editor
Jayhawk Slant

When it comes to building and renovating facilities the list under KU athletics director Sheahon Zenger is pretty impressive.

On Friday Zenger announced the largest gift in the history of Kansas Athletics. Well-known alum and donor David Booth pledged $50 million to the capital campaign set in motion by Zenger and Chancellor Dr. Doug Girod on Friday.

The campaign is a total of $350 million that will span over five years.

“I believe Sheahon’s plan for football and basketball is essential not only to the future of Kansas Athletics, but also to the university as a whole,” Booth said.

Over the last six years Zenger has positioned the Jayhawks to have some of the best facilities in the Big 12 and country.

We made several phone calls to college contacts throughout the nation to see what other colleges have made improvements or added new buildings for every sport in the last five years like Kansas.

"I didn't know Kansas has done that much new construction," one source in college athletic administration said. "Obviously people are building every year but to have done that for every sport puts them on a short list."

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List of buildings/renovations under Zenger in last five years  

- A new IAAF track and stadium, which is only one of five of its kind in the country. Having the IAAF standards means it can host Olympic Trials.

- The new Jayhawk Tennis Center that some have called among the best in the nation that opened this spring. Construction will finish this fall and features six indoor and outdoor courts.

- Arrocha Park where the softball team plays was built in 2014. It also features an 11,000 square foot indoor facility, one of the largest in the nation. It is the largest indoor in the Big 12. One source told us Oklahoma softball coach Patty Gasso called it one of the best she has seen. The Sooners won the national championship this year.

- A new 2500 seat soccer stadium for the women’s team.

- The new Jayhawk Club for the golf program that is currently under construction. The Jayhawk Club will be at the former Alvamar Country Club and will also feature indoor practice facility.

- With a $10 million gift from Stewart Horejsi and his family, KU will construct a new volleyball arena. It will seat 3,000 people and will start after this season is over.

- A $4 million project in the Anderson Family Football Complex with a new locker room, player’s lounge, meeting rooms, nutrition center, and video screen above each player’s locker.

- A new indoor football practice facility that will break ground at the end of the 2017 season and will be the first phase of a massive renovation to Memorial Stadium.

- McCarthy Hall, a new residence for the men's basketball team and other students

- The DeBruce Center that houses the original rules of basketball
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Zenger added they will finish the renovations to Allen Fieldhouse. They also have drawings for upgrades to Hoglund Ballpark and that will be completed in the near future.

“We’ve had some tremendous success in athletics under Sheahon and he has elevated every element of our athletics programs,” said Girod, KU’s chancellor. “He is certainly a man of vision and integrity and is a Jayhawk to the core.”

Under Zenger’s watch the Jayhawk’s overall list of athletic facilities move close to the top of the Big 12. Once the renovations start to Memorial Stadium with phase one beginning this year, there really isn’t much left to do for the KU AD in terms of building. The only sport that would need an upgrade is swimming and the inside word says that could be tied to a city-wide or university project.

[Related: Zenger announces new Adidas deal worth $191 million]

With all of the building and renovating over the last four years, Zenger has accomplished a massive overhaul when it comes to new facilities for athletics.

Throw in the fact he secured the largest gift in KAI history one of the top five apparel deals in the nation with Adidas, it wasn’t a bad Friday at the office.

“It is an exciting day,” Zenger said. “You dream of days like this in your career when you can announce these type of numbers. In the past six years you have heard me talk at length about clearing the deck for this project. It is now time to finish the project.”

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