Topeka, Kan. - Washburn University announced today that Capitol Federal Foundation has given $1 million for upgrades to Lee Arena, home to the Ichabods basketball and volleyball teams and major campus and community events.

    “Lee Arena is a place where we celebrate Washburn students from convocation to commencement,” said JuliAnn Mazachek, president, Washburn. “In addition to these signature events, this space welcomes numerous community events and provides the home court for our volleyball and basketball teams that regularly compete on the national stage. We are thankful to Capitol Federal for not only their generosity and leadership but also their shared vision for this space and its importance for the student body and the community.”

    The project to upgrade Lee Arena is divided in two phases. In phase one, Washburn will focus on replacing the court, providing better seating options for fans including legacy suites, upgrading technology, and creating a multi-purpose room on the north end of the arena. The second phase will focus on creating a new home for Washburn’s sports medicine program to improve student-athlete well-being, renovating locker rooms, providing aesthetic updates to the concourse to celebrate the history of Washburn Athletics, and renovating entrances to improve fan experiences.

    “Capitol Federal’s commitment to Washburn Athletics over the years has greatly impacted all of our student-athletes through scholarships, their support of the Indoor Athletic Facility, and now Lee Arena,” said Marshall Meek, president, Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation. “Their generosity is a testament to how much they want to see Washburn and the community continue to thrive, and we thank them for their leadership.”

    Lee Arena, which opened in 1984, draws some of the largest crowds in NCAA Division II, and it became the first MIAA school to have a video board and digital scorer’s table. It also serves as a meeting point for people in the community. Tens of thousands of people are in Lee Arena every year for community events such as the Sunflower State Games and major events at Washburn such as convocation, graduation and the annual iRead lecture.

    “Our nice facilities help serve as a strong student-athlete recruitment tool and encourages others to invest in Washburn Athletics initiatives,” said Loren Ferré, director, Washburn Athletics. “We thank Capitol Federal for their continued leadership for our student-athletes and all they do to help us create a program of excellence.”

    The relationship between the Capitol Federal Foundation and Washburn University goes back many years. Capitol Federal Foundation’s first major gift went to the Living Learning Center and it also created the Capitol Federal® True Blue® Scholars program to recognize top student-athletes. It has supported the renovation of Stoffer Science Hall, the Capitol Federal Athlete Strength and Conditioning Center in Whiting Fieldhouse, the Indoor Athletic Facility, and the Leadership Challenge Event each year.

    “Lee Arena has always been an important gathering place for both Washburn students and the Topeka community at large,” said John Dicus, chief executive officer, Capitol Federal. “We’re proud to have such a strong connection to Washburn University, and to contribute to the improvements that will advance Lee Arena’s status as a premier location for Washburn Athletics for generations to come.”


For further information, contact:
Sarah Towle
Executive Director of Engagement
(785) 670.1744 (office)
(785) 221.1472 (cell)

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