It was announced today (though was known for a bit that it was going to happen but just officially announced, special thanks to Mike Vernon's "Hearings" newsletter) that Allen Fieldhouse will be undergoing major renovations starting this year. The project will be largely funded by private donations from alumni and is projected to cost about $300 million in total (per ABC News) The project will be focused on introducing new amenities to Allen Fieldhouse that have long been asked for, however due to Allen Fieldhouse's status as a historically registered building these changes could not come easy. Lots of hoops to jump through and lots of tough decisions to make, but it seems the administration has set its sights on what they want to do to appease donors and fans. The renovations include, but are not limited to:
New LED lighting that will light the arena and all concourses.
Better seating options
A "Jayhawk Pub" to provide premium service food and drink.
A new Rally House store in the Booth Hall of Athletics w/mezzanine space.
Expanded hospitality spaces with a new donor atrium, as well as an amenity called the "Naismith Room."
A New scoreboard, sound system, signage, and in-house WiFi.
(Per KU Athletics)
Unfortunately, still no updated HVAC as of yet (mainly due to the historic status and them not wanting to gut the building) but that can be managed. Allen Fieldhouse is about to undergo a much-needed makeover, and while purists may have some gripes, these renovations are welcomed by most of the fanbase. Allen, though a cathedral of college basketball through and through, was aging, and aging quickly. With the advent of alcohol being allowed at the Booth as well as its respective renovations that its currently undergoing, I am sure AD Travis Goff wanted to make sure Allen kept with the times as well had amenities that made the fan experience that much more enjoyable while still keeping the spirit of Allen alive. You'll still get same old Allen in terms of the game experience; you'll just get better amenities and aspects that will only further enhance the game experience. Really, I can see only good things that can come of this, and Goff and Co. are certainly delivering once they make this happen. For as good as KU Basketball has been for many years, you want to give them a building that can hold its tradition of excellence high, and while Allen was already known as a must-see sight if you're a college basketball fan, now it can be even more impressive. Once again, these renovations only make Allen better, and they were needed if Allen were to be kept from becoming a dinosaur and the experience becoming less enjoyable compared to other venues. The reverence for this building is held extremely high, which is why it took so long for this decision to be made, but it's not taking anything away from the hallowed halls. Merely, adding to it and modernizing it. I for one, am excited.
Burn Notice: 10/10 Beware of heat stroke if you start serving alcohol in Allen...that's the only gripe I have though.