What’s happening to the stone on the outside of Memorial Stadium?

By Ned Seaton

Q: On the renovation of the old Memorial Stadium at K-State, what happens to the stone on the outside of the building? Also, is it designated as a historic site? Who decides?

A: You’re asking about a big project going on right now to fix up the west side stadium structure at the old football stadium on campus — at the corner of Denison and Anderson avenues.

The big picture is that they’re going to move what’s called the Purple Masque Theater from the east-side stadium structure over to the west-side structure. So they’re gutting and renovating that west-side structure first.

It’s a $6 million job, according to K-State. The east-side structure will be turned into a welcome center for the campus in a later phase of the whole project, for an additional cost.

The outside of the stadium is covered with limestone, typical of many campus buildings. Some of the decorative stone on the top of the structure is being replaced, according to Dave DeBusman, project manager in campus planning. Some other pieces of stone elsewhere on the structure are also being replaced.

Why? Simple: It’s shot.

“The old stone had deteriorated,” DeBusman said. “It was cracked, and just generally deteriorated over the years.”

That old stone is being recycled, DeBusman said. Some of it will be used for landscaping on campus; other pieces will be used as the contractor sees fit. It’s not suitable to be used in construction, DeBusman said.

The stadium was built in the 1920s as a memorial to students and alums who died in World War I.

It was dedicated in 1929 and was the functioning football stadium until 1967, when KSU Stadium opened.

(That is what’s now called Bill Snyder And All of His Relatives And Also The Fans and Players Stadium, or something like that.)

Plans called for Memorial Stadium to be finished as a bowl, but the south end of the structure was never added.

Part of the new project calls for completing the towers at the south end of both the west- and east-side structures, DeBusman said. That will involve adding new stone, obviously.

The building is not designated as a historic structure, DeBusman said. The state historical society would have been the one to make such a designation, he said.

The project to re-do the west side is expected to be finished this coming summer. The Purple Masque theater will take up the south half of the structure; the north half will include three classrooms, restrooms, a vending area, and some office space, DeBusman said.

The structure will have what’s called a “green roof,” but the stadium stairs on the inside of the structure – toward the stadium field – will be available for walkers and runners to use as they currently do for exercise.

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