LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) – The University of Kansas will begin tearing the track out of Memorial Stadium next week.
"Rarely in facilities work do we get to do something that directly benefits players and fans at the same time," KU Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger said. "We'll have a larger safety zone for players and more usable practice space for the team. Fans will immediately appreciate the improved optics that these changes will provide."
New artificial turf will replace the track, extending 37 feet from the sidelines and 80 feet from the north end zone, the university's athletic department said on Friday. The south end zone will get a new decorative fence, which replaces the 10-foot chain-link fence down there right now. Ten feet of asphalt will also surround the north, east, and west sides of the stadium.
"During our recent discussions with players, coaches and fans," Zenger continued, "their highest priority was that we remove the track. We are grateful that a donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, stepped up to make possible this intermediate phase of renovation."
The entire project is expected to take about 6 weeks.
Memorial Stadium is recognized as the first stadium built on a college campus west of the Mississippi River, the university said. Built in 1921, it's the 7th oldest stadium in the country. Holding 50,071 fans, it's dedicated to the University of Kansas students who fought and died in World War I.