Kansas Football working on looking the part with new facilities

Kansas Jayhawks. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas Jayhawks. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Even if the Kansas football program doesn’t actually compete for a Big 12 championship anytime soon, they could at least look like they belong in that conversation.

Competing in Power 5 football takes more than the best coaches and players. It also takes a tremendous amount of money. Kansas has been working on the latter element for a while and the results of those efforts are becoming tangible.

On Wednesday, April 18, the Kansas athletic department began construction on an indoor practice facility for its football program. The facility is projected to cost $26 million and be finished late this fall. The Kansas City Star published artist renderings of the finished building.

Per KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger in a quote from The Kansas City Star,

"“It is extremely rewarding — to us and to our fans — to see construction fences up and shovels in the ground,”~~~“This state-of-the-art facility is a necessary component of our commitment to enable our football program to compete successfully in the Big 12 Conference.”"

The 89,000-square-foot building will sit on the west side of Memorial Stadium. It allows Kansas to catch up with the rest of the Big 12. For example, Texas has had an indoor practice facility since 2002 and Oklahoma State has enjoyed its indoor accommodations since 2013.

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How smoothly this construction and how impressive the finished product appears is important for Kansas. This is just one phase of a larger fundraising plan for the football program, which aims to raise over $300 million over five years.

The next phases include major renovations to Memorial Stadium like the addition of a new video board and new luxury suites. It’s unclear how close to the overall goal of $350 million the athletic department is right now.

Outside of helping Kansas look the part of a Big 12 football program, the hope is that the new facilities and renovations will help the Jayhawks attract and retain better talent. Athlon Sports and 24/7 Sports both ranked Kansas’ 2018 recruiting class eighth out of the Big 12’s 10 programs. Whether that will happen remains to be seen but it’s difficult to see how the new facilities will hurt.

Despite poor returns on the field for years that has seen the Jayhawks win no more than two games (a winless season was included in there too), it seems that those in the Kansas community are still willing to spend to support the football program. The indoor practice facility will stand as a sign of hope for better days.