Dec. 9, 2004

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Contact: Lynn Bretz, University Relations, (785) 864-8866.

University to ask neighborhood, city for assistance in planning rec center addition

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas will ask residential neighbors and the city to serve on a building advisory committee to assist with plans for a $6.1 million addition to the north side of the Student Recreation Fitness Center.

The tentative timetable calls for construction to begin in June 2006 and be completed by July 2007.
University Place Neighborhood Association will be asked to appoint two representatives, and the Lawrence city manager and the chair of the city Recreation Advisory Board will be asked to each appoint one representative. These individuals in addition to three university representatives will be formally charged in March and will begin meeting when a committee chair, an architectural consultant for the project, is selected.

“ A neighborhood advisory committee worked very well in helping design a new scholarship hall compatible with the Ohio Street area,” said KU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Shulenburger. “We want to follow the same procedures with this building addition in order to take into account neighborhood ideas and sensibilities."

Creating a building advisory committee follows the protocol established in a city-university land use agreement, recently negotiated and endorsed by a committee appointed by the mayor of Lawrence and the KU chancellor. It was approved by the university and has been submitted to the City Commission for consideration.

The 44,000-square-foot expansion would add four basketball courts for a total of eight and three racquetball courts for a total of five, and would double the free weight space. The elevated indoor running track would be lengthened to a quarter mile.

The current facility, at 17th and Watkins Center streets, has 98,500 square feet. Built in 2003, it was funded with $17 million in student fees. KU Athletics Corporation is funding the addition as payment for 1,200 student-section seats in Allen Fieldhouse that the Student Senate agreed to let KUAC sell to the general public.

The architect should be named by June 2005, after the project receives formal authorization from the state. The Kansas Board of Regents approved the project at its November meeting. In March, the university also will name a building program committee, consisting of students and staff and to be chaired by the architect.


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