The fieldhouse, which opened March 1, 1955, is named for Forrest C. "Phog" Allen, longtime basketball coach who played for and was trained by James Naismith, the game's founder, a longtime KU professor of physical culture and its first basketball coach. The fieldhouse and its basketball court, now named for Naismith, superseded the facilities at the original Robinson Gymnasium, built in 1907 and razed in the late 1960s, and Hoch Auditorium, where games were played from 1927 to 1955. Like those facilities, the fieldhouse also has been the site of concerts and university functions.
The fieldhouse, a limestone structure designed by State Architect Charles L. Marshall, seats 16,300 and has concession and media facilities. It houses media relations offices; systems information; facilities and events management; baseball, rowing and Spirit Squad coaches; men's and women's track offices; an Olympic sports equipment room; locker rooms for rowing, soccer, softball and men's and women's basketball teams and staff and officials; and athletics human resources and other administrative offices.
It was renovated in 1974-75, including a new court floor, and again in 1993. In spring 2005 the exterior was cleaned and other renovations done before construction began on the two-story, 26,000-square-foot Booth Family Hall of Athletics on the east face, designed by HOK Sport+Venue+Event of Kansas City, Mo. The hall was made possible by donations from the children of Gilbert and Betty Booth, longtime KU supporters who lived near the fieldhouse. It opened Jan. 21, 2006, and houses a hall of fame for Kansas athletes and sports, with a special emphasis on the contributions of Naismith and Allen to KU’s basketball traditions. The hall also includes the ticket office;www.kustore.com; and donor, alumni and recruiting meeting rooms.
Booth Hall was expanded, including new interactive exhibits, as part of a $41-million renovation to the Fieldhouse complex completed in late 2009. The projects included a new 11,600-square-foot basketball practice facility for men and women; an enlarged volleyball facility in Horejsi; remodeled locker rooms and offices in Wagnon-Parrott for softball, soccer, track, and other sports; new locker rooms in Anschutz Pavilion; and new tutoring rooms, computer lab, and staff offices in student support services. The second floor of a new atrium linking Wagnon-Parrott with the Fieldhouse is a multifunction space adaptable for receptions and exhibitions.
In the Fieldhouse, locker rooms, restrooms, concourses and concession areas were remodeled; mechanical and electrical improvements were made; and a two-level bridge to the parking garage was added.
Construction began in fall 2014 on the DeBruce Center, which will house Naismith's original "Rules of Basket Ball" as well as a student center and meeting rooms. The three-story, $18 million center adjoining the northeast corner of the Fieldhouse and the Booth Hall of Athletics will be named for Paul and Katherine DeBruce, 1973 alumni who are primary donors.
Naismith wrote the rules of the game he invented in December 1891. The sheets of paper, typewritten and annotated by Naismith, were purchased for $4.3 million at auction in December 2010 and donated to KU by David and Suzanne Deal Booth, alumni whose family funded the hall of athletics.