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Memorial Stadium
Kivisto Field

Aerial View

  Venue Resources  
Address West 11th Street & Alabama Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone (913) 864-3417
Seating Weather
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  The Facility  
Date Opened October 29, 1921
Major Renovation 1998, 2006
Ownership
(Management)
University of Kansas
(University of Kansas)
Surface AstroPlay
Cost of Construction $275,000
Cost of Renovation $31 million
Capacity 50,071
Luxury Suites 36 Suites
Club Seats Unknown
  Other Facts  
Tenants Kansas Jayhawks
(NCAA) (1921-Present)
Population Base 90,000
On Site Parking Unknown
Nearest Airport Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
Retired Numbers #21 John Hadl
#42 Ray Evans
#48 Gale Sayers


Sources: Mediaventures

Kansas Memorial Stadium is recognized as the first such structure built on a college campus west of the Mississippi River, and is the eighth oldest collegiate stadium in the nation. Located at the north base of Mt. Oread at 11th and Maine streets in Lawrence, it has a present day capacity of 50,250.

Memorial Stadium is dedicated to the University of Kansas students who fought and died in World War I.

After playing its first two years of intercollegiate football (1890-91) in old Central Park on Massachusetts Street, Kansas built its first football field in 1892. It was called McCook Field and was named for Colonel John McCook who donated $2,500 to trigger a building fund drive.

Like most stadiums of those early days, it was nothing more than a set of wooden stands bordering each side of the field. It was laid out east and west on a site adjacent to the present Memorial Stadium. In fact, the horseshoe of Memorial Stadium covers much of old McCook Field. The east end zone of the original field was 400 feet from Mississippi Street and was bounded on the south by McCook Street. At that time McCook Street extended from Mississippi to Maine Street cutting directly through the present-day stadium.

Kansas played its first game on McCook Field on Oct. 27, 1892, defeating Illinois 26-4.

Kansas continued to compete at McCook Field until 1920 when Jayhawk fans, students and faculty began a drive for a new facility. The idea of a new stadium came on the heels of a 20-20 tie with Nebraska at McCook Field in 1920.

Coaching in what would be his first and only season, Dr. F.C. "Phog" Allen directed Kansas to the tie after trailing 20-0 at halftime. Although Allen would go on to gain greater fame as a basketball coach, the idea to build a new football stadium was just one of his many innovations at Kansas.

On the Monday following the game, fans, students and faculty gathered to celebrate the comeback. In mass more than $200,000 was pledged to build a "modern" concrete structure. Allen envisioned a horseshoe shaped stadium, and under his direction, construction began immediately.

Kansas moved into Memorial Stadium in 1921 and defeated Kansas State 21-7 on October 29, before 5,160 fans. When the stadium opened, the east and west stands were complete with a capacity of 22,000. The final game of the 1921 season saw Kansas down Missouri 15-9 before 15,480 fans in Memorial Stadium.

In 1925, the east and west sections were extended to the south. Today those additions house the home and visitor lockerrooms. On October 3, 1925, a record crowd of 20,640 watched Kansas defeat Oklahoma A&M, 31-3. In 1927, the north bowl was completed to increase capacity to 35,000. Kansas inaugurated the horseshoe with a 26-6 loss to Wisconsin.

The next addition came in 1963 when the west stands were expanded 26 rows raising the capacity to 44,900. Included in this addition was a new press box, the same one that stands today. Two years later a similar addition was added to the east side bringing the capacity to 51,500.

In 1970, artificial turf replaced the natural grass playing surface. The stadium underwent a major renovation in 1978 totalling approximately $1.8 million. The first phase consisted of repairing concrete from the original construction. The original wooden seats were replaced with aluminum bleachers as well.

The interior of the stadium was also improved in that renovation. Included were new dressing and training rooms for both Kansas and its opponents.

Another phase of the renovation covered the press box. New booths for television and radio along with a new photo deck were installed at level eight. Expanded radio booths were built on level seven in addition to a complete refurbishing that included all three levels.

In 1987, the old south endzone bleachers were removed. Permanent bleachers were purchased in 1992 increasing the seating capacity to 50,250.

A new AstroTurf surface was installed at Memorial Stadium during the summer of 1990. The new carpet represents the third artificial surface added to the stadium since 1970.

Memorial Stadium has also been host to a number of community, musical and athletic activities. It is the home of the prestigious Kansas Relays. The eight lane all-weather track was built in 1969, replacing the old cinder surface. In 1984, the track was resurfaced and new jumping pits were constructed. Memorial Stadium hosted the Big Eight Conference track and field championships in the spring of 1994.

Only six other Division I schools -- Cincinnati (1916), Georgia Tech (1913), Mississippi State (1915), Oklahoma State (1920), Washington (1920) and Wisconsin (1917) -- currently play in older stadiums. Kansas, Stanford and Tennessee play in stadiums that were opened in 1921.

Stadium Facts
KU In Memorial Stadium

Seasons (1997) -- 76
Record -- 185-178-16 (32 winning seasons - opened in 1921)
Most Consecutive Winning Seasons -- 6 (1943-48)
Most Games, Season -- 7 (1981, 1985, 1986)
Most Wins, Season -- 6 (1981)
Most Losses, Season -- 5 (1954, 1972, 1978, 1987, 1988)
Most Consecutive Wins -- 8 (1967-68 and 1951-52)
Undefeated Seasons -- 6 (1921, 1923, 1945, 1947, 1951, 1973)
Most Points By KU -- 86 vs. South Dakota State (Oct. 11, 1947)
Most Points By Opponent -- 70 by Nebraska (Nov. 15, 1986)

Milestone Wins

1st -- KU 21, Kansas State 7, Oct. 29, 1921 (1st game)
50th -- KU 14, Wichita 7, Oct. 5, 1946
100th -- KU 34, Kansas State 0, Oct. 30, 1965
150th -- KU 42, Vanderbilt 16, Sept. 14, 1985
175th -- KU 35, Iowa State 20, Oct. 16, 1993

Memorial Stadium Chronology

1919

The University of Kansas initiates the Million Dollar Drive, designed as a fund-raising campaign to secure funds for the construction of a memorial honoring the KU students who died during World War I.

1920

Phog Allen, in his only football season as head coach, rallies his team from a 20-0 halftime deficit to a 20-20 tie against Nebraska. The following Monday, students and faculty gather to celebrate the come-back and more than $200,000 is pledged over a three-day period to build a concrete stadium.

1921

The university observed "Stadium Day" (May 10) and more than 4,000 Students show up to help demolish the old stadium, McCook Field.

1921

The first game in Memorial Stadium is Oct. 3, 1921 as KU defeats Kansas State, 21-7 in front of 5,160 fans. When the stadium was completed, the east and west stands had a capacity of 22,000.

1922

The formal dedication of the stadium came Nov. 11, 1922 just prior to the KU-Nebraska game.

1925

The east and west section were extended to the south. On Oct. 3, 1925, a record crowd of 20,640 watched Kansas defeat Oklahoma A&M, 31-3.

1927

Phog Allen’s dream of a horseshoe-type stadium turns into reality as the north bowl is completed and the stadium capacity is increased to 35,000.

1963

The west stands are expanded 26 rows, raising the capacity to 44,900. Also added is a new pressbox.

1965

The east stands are expanded and capacity grows to 51,500.

1970

The natural grass surface is replaced with artificial turf.

1978

A $1.8 million renovation of Memorial Stadium includes improvements to repair concrete, replacing the original wooden seats, adding new dressing rooms and additions to the pressbox. Also, a new artificial turf is added.

1987

The old south endzone bleachers are removed.

1990

A new AstroTurf field is installed in the summer prior to the start of the 1990 season.

1992

Permanent bleachers are added in the south end zone.

1997

Construction starts at the conclusion of the 1997 season on the first phase of a two-year $25 million renovation project that includes structural repairs, infrastructure improvements, upgrades of concessions areas and restrooms. The final phase (scheduled for the 1999 season) will include a new pressbox.

1999

The completion of a two-year, $25 million, renovation project which includes extensive infrastructure repairs, new concourse with improved concession stands and restrooms, new home locker room, a new pressbox with 36 scholarship suites and expanded facilities for radio, television and print media and a new elevator. In addition, the 1999 season marks the debut of a new video board in the south end zone.

Source: University of Kansas Sports Information Office

KU TO PAY RUSH FEE TO OPEN NEW STADIUM WITH IMPROVEMENTS
June 24, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

Delays adding a new press box and 36 luxury suites to Memorial Stadium has led the University of Kansas to spend $300,000 extra on the project to make sure it's ready for opening this fall. The money that will be used to hire extra workers to make sure the stadium is ready for September will come from private donations. Without the work, the job might not be complete until October. Construction officials said the delays were caused by unforeseen problems.

The total $12.6 million project is part of a $32 million renovation of the stadium and Allen Field House. Suites will lease for $22,500 to $50,000 a year.

KANSAS BEGINS PLANNING FOR STADIUM RENOVATION
September 3, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Lawrence, Kans. - University of Kansas Athletic Department officials say they are planning a $34 million renovation of the east side of Memorial Stadium.

The project, which was first broached during a focus group meeting with donors in March, would add club seating - in the form of box suites - to the stadium's east side, which currently features only bleacher seating.

The school has submitted a proposal for the expansion project at Memorial Stadium that includes 3,000 club-level seats, in addition to a $40 million commitment to academic programs at KU. If completed, Kansas will have spent at least $91 million on football facilities since 1999.

Kansas doesn't intend to seek donations to raise the money before beginning the project and will instead rely on ticket sales of the seats themselves to raise the money over a period of years.

The project, if undertaken, would represent the third major upgrade to Memorial Stadium in recent memory. Since 88-year-old Memorial Stadium's $26 million renovation in 1999, average home attendance has boomed from 32,642 to 50,907 at a stadium whose official capacity is 50,071.

The goal is to have the project complete before next football season. Officials said that was an "ambitious" goal, but likely nonetheless.

The proposal is on the Board of Regents Sept. 16-17 agenda, meaning KU expects a decision within two weeks.

KANSAS REGENTS APPROVE UPGRADE
September 24, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Lawrence, Kans. - A $34 million addition to Memorial Stadium has been approved by the University of Kansas Board of Regents. The work includes 3,000 clubs seats on the stadium's east side.

The proposed $34 million tower would house a university Gridiron Club and complement the existing west-side scholarship suites.

Kansas Jayhawks

Memorial Stadium
Memorial Stadium

1921-Present


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