LOCATED ON EUCLID AVENUE between Lexington Avenue and Rose Street, the majestic Memorial Coliseum has a seating capacity of 12,000 for basketball games and 15,000 for programs in which folding chairs may be placed on the playing floor. Seating space for approximately 300 persons is provided alongside the 75-foot six-lane swimming pool. All seats on the building's west side, approximately one third of the total, are theater-type chairs, and the remainder are bleacher type. More than 80 per cent of the Coliseum's permanent seats are at side court.
The building contains ticket sales offices, offices for the athletics director, football coach, basketball coach, all assistant coaches, swimming pool director, and the sports publicity editor. Locker rooms for football, basketball, baseball and all minor sports also are located in the new structure.
Excavation of the building site required removal of 40,000 cubic yards of earth and more than 10,000 cubic yards of rock. Construction required 1 1,000 cubic yards of concrete and more than 500 tons of reinforcing steel. Other construction materials used in the building include 3,500,000 brick, 3,000 tons of structural steel, 2.3 acres of roofing, and two acres of terrazo flooring.
Measured from the Euclid avenue side (the front), the Coliseum is 82 feet in height. Its acoustically-treated ceiling is 49 feet above the playing floor, and the span of its main trusses is 225 feet. Twenty-six double-doored exits allow the building to be emptied of a capacity crowd in little more than ten minutes, and a combination heating and ventilating system produces six to eight complete air changes per hour.
The basketball court, laid on a sub-floor of concrete, is permanent and cannot be removed.
Near perfect from an acoustical standpoint, the huge auditorium can be used for concerts and lectures as well as for sports events, conventions and all-University convocations. Programs during the school year include concerts by James Melton, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Don Cossack Chorus, Artur Rubinstein, and Jascha Heifetz, and lectures by Elmer Davis, Charles Laughton, and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.
The Coliseum's permanent equipment includes a large electric organ, facilities for radio and television broadcasts, and ample space for the working press.
Names of the 9,306 Gold Star Kentuckians have been lettered on permanent plaques which occupy recessed wall panels in the Coliseum entry ramps. Bronze stars have been placed in the concourses of the building by the Student Government Association in honor of the University of Kentucky men who died in the war.