Say goodbye to the track around the Memorial Stadium football field.
Starting June 24th, Kansas will begin removing the track from Memorial Stadium. The process, described below, will take six weeks to complete:
Workers will surround the field with new artificial turf, which will extend 37 feet from the sidelines. Additional turf in the north end zone will extend 80 feet from the back of the end zone, some 25 feet more than exists today. Ten feet of asphalt will extend from the end of the turf to the stands on the north, east and west sides of the stadium. The south end zone will remain largely unchanged, except that a new decorative fence will replace the 10-foot chain-link fence that currently stands in that end zone.
“Rarely in facilities work do we get to do something that directly benefits players and fans at the same time,” Sheahon Zenger said in a release to the media. “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.
Charlie Weis was thrilled with the decision:
I’m fired up! Track removal Tuesday. Much more added field turf. Chain link fence gone. Great start to stadium renovation. Thanks Dr. Zenger
— Coach Charlie Weis (@CoachWeisKansas) June 20, 2014
“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 track surrounding the field has been a source of ridicule from football fans across the country. It has been described as something that only high schools do. However, until a few months ago, Kansas didn’t have a dedicated outdoor track and field facility. Kansas hosts one of the best track and field events in the country every spring, the Kansas Relays. With the addition of Rock Chalk Park, Kansas was able to finally take the track out.
Memorial Stadium was the first stadium built on a college campus west of the Mississippi River and is the seventh oldest collegiate stadium in the country. Kansas has played football inside Memorial Stadium since 1921.
Kansas was the last BCS school to have a track around its football field.