WATCH: The process of sculpting Dr. James Naismith for Kansas’ DeBruce Center

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With the University of Kansas working to complete the DeBruce Center, a project that will (among many things) house Dr. James Naismith’s original “Rules of Basket Ball,” a statue of the founder of the sport will also be on display in front of the building. Elden Tefft was entrusted with the task of completing this aspect of the project, as he was both a sculptor and professor at KU.

Sadly Tefft passed away in mid-February before he could complete the project he had designs on beginning well before anyone considered building the DeBruce Center. According to Nick Krug of the Lawrence Journal-World making a statue of Dr. Naismith is something Tefft has wanted to do since the early 2000’s, and with his passing Tefft’s son Kim Tefft has been hard at work to complete the project he and his father began long ago.

“That building is being designed as a destination point, so there will be a lot of people that will come to see that, not just at basketball game time,” Tefft said. “My father wanted a piece that would carry itself in an outdoor environment. At the same time he wanted something intimate enough that people could interact with it, sit beside it and get their pictures taken with it. I think it will have a strong draw that way.”

Below is the video that accompanied Krug’s story on the project, and the hope is that the DeBruce Center will be completed in time for the start of the 2015-16 season.

Kansas to begin building home for Dr. James Naismith’s ‘Rules of Basket Ball’ May 2

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In 2010 Dr. James Naismith’s original rules of basketball were auctioned off, with Kansas alumnus David Booth paying more than $4.3 million for the two-page document that’s the basis for the game we love today. And given the amount of money Booth and his wife Suzanne shelled out for the rules, there was a need for a home to preserve the “Rules of Basket Ball.”

Kansas announced plans for a display to be built at the northeast corner of Allen Fieldhouse, and on Friday it was reported by the Lawrence Journal-World that groundbreaking for the new facility will take place May 2.

The facility, to be named the DeBruce Center in honor of Kansas alumni Paul and Katherine DeBruce (they gave the monetary gift that made this possible), will house not only the rules but also other amenities Jayhawk players and fans will be able to take advantage of.

The building will also consist of a 320-seat student activity center, which will include retail dining, cafe seating, a new training table setting for both the KU men’s and women’s basketball teams and a catered event space.

There will also be exhibits for both Dr. Naismith and Phog Allen, the great coach for whom the Fieldhouse is named.

Construction of new home for Naismith’s basketball rules delayed until next spring

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Dr. James Naismith’s official rules to the game of basketball are incredibly valuable, with Kansas alumnus David Booth paying a staggering $4.3 million for the document in a 2010 auction. However, instead of keeping the rules for himself Booth made the decision to donate the rules to his beloved alma mater.

Booth made the donation while also suggesting that the school build a facility to house the rules, and it turns out that the DeBruce Center won’t be built in time for the 2013-14 campaign. With there being concerns regarding lighting (given the age of the document, this is a detail that can’t be overlooked) and other design issues, construction of the new facility won’t begin until the spring of 2014.

The hope is that design plans will be submitted in early 2014. There are high hopes for the DeBruce Center and for obvious reasons, and given the importance of the project planners can’t afford to leave any stone unturned.

“The DeBruce Center will serve not only as a must-see destination landmark for sports fans and history buffs,” KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said earlier this year, “But (it will also serve) as an important, integral part of campus benefiting students, faculty and visitors alike.”

First, though, KU had to figure out what the building would look like. And [KU Endowment president Dale] Seuferling said design questions pushed back the start date. KU officials, Seuferling said, wanted to be sure the new building didn’t affect the sightlines of Allen Fieldhouse’s exterior.

Waiting until the spring to begin construction means that fans won’t have their game-day experience affected this season. No work will be done to Allen Fieldhouse itself, but navigating the area surrounding a construction site could end up being an inconvenience for some fans/visitors. There won’t be games to deal with when construction begins, and if there is a need to make adjustments in the fall of 2014 at least fans will have ample time to plan accordingly.