Yesterday, a nice discussion emerged on one of the stories about ways to improve the visibility of our football program in the wake of the Big XII upheaval.
Obviously, the first thing on everyone's mind is getting rid of the track. This does a few things:
a) It increases the stadium capacity
b) It brings the fans much closer to the action and makes it a more intimidating environment
c) It looks a lot better on tv not to be featuring our high schoolish stadium
Some have suggested that we simply lower the field and add a few more rows to the stands. Others have pointed out that this is most likely and impossibility due to the high water table.
That said, ours is the oldest stadium west of the Mississippi and was one of the earliest on-campus stadiums built. The design of the venerable Memorial Stadium was thought up by none other than Phog Allen and it was dedicated to the KU students who fought and died in WWI. We have a lot of history in our old home but we've all come to realize that the golden era of college athletics is beyond us. The age of innocence is official over for Kansas Football fans.
KU Football is for better or for worse going to be the primary money generator for the school, so with that, we need a 21st century stadium.
So my first thought was to move the field closer the North bowl and to the West stands as well as alter the angle of the East stands. This would be the cheapest option but it will make Memorial look like Candlestick Park and it will create awful sight lines.
The more I looked at this the more I really disliked the idea. The thing that really bugged me was that the North Bowl is so deep that it eliminates viable seating and view lines in the Southern end of the stadium. So I went back to the drawing board, or as was pointed out, to my napkin. Here's my newest plan. It maintains the upper tier on both the East and West stands so it shouldn't interfere with the Gridiron Club or the Press Box. The lower tier could be built over the existing tier and shouldn't require a rebuild.
The biggest change is the bowl. The seating would be flush with the upper and lower tiers and is not nearly as deep as the old bowl that had to accommodate a track. I would love to retain the exterior arches on the North end of the bowl and build the new bowl within. Sorta like Soldier Field.
What do you guys think?