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Regents approve $17.5 million KU basketball dorms

Published on -1/16/2014, 10:22 AM

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- The Kansas Board of Regents has approved a proposal to build a $17.5 million apartment complex that will house many basketball players at the University of Kansas.

The Fieldhouse Apartments, to be located near Allen Fieldhouse, will provide housing for up to 66 students, nearly half of whom will be men's and women's basketball players. It is scheduled to open for the 2016-17 school year.

Each apartment will have a full kitchen, living and dining rooms, with lounges on each floor, two team meeting rooms, tutoring space and a multipurpose room. Construction is not scheduled to start for another year.

The apartment project will be financed by private donations and bonds, which will be paid off through rent from the apartments. The state Legislature will have to authorize the bonds. Theresa Gordzica, the university's chief business and financial planning officer, said between $9 million and $10 million will be raised through private funds.

The university had asked the regents to add the project to its current fiscal year 2014 capital improvements campaign. Despite noting some misgivings about the price tag, the regents approved the project Wednesday by an 8-1 vote.

Regents vice chairman Kenny Wilk voted against the proposal.

"I understand the need. I just can't quite get over the sticker shock," Wilk said.

University officials and men's coach Bill Self have defended the project as a way to improve recruiting for the school's nationally-ranked men's basketball program. Self said it also would improve security for the university's higher-profile players.

"Everybody will have their own take," Self said. "But housing, where our student-athletes reside now, is way, way, way, way behind what the competitors would be housing their student-athletes in, in a big way."

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