November 2009
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What's in a name?

What's in a name?

The Charles Koch Arena is a 10,572-seat multipurpose arena on Wichita State University's campus in Wichita, Kan. During the years, the arena has changed names several times.

The arena originally was built in 1953 for about $1.5 million and was named the University of Wichita Field House. Its circular design was innovative, providing seats that allowed fans to get close to court and earning it the nickname "the Roundhouse." The building was dedicated Dec. 7, 1955, with a game between Wichita University and the University of Kansas.

The arena was renamed the WSU Field House when the school joined the state university system in 1964.

In 1969, it was renamed Levitt Arena after the death of Henry Levitt June 20, 1968. Levitt's Wichita clothing store had sponsored a basketball team—the Henry Clothiers—that won three consecutive national Amateur Athletic Union titles from 1930-32; during this time, colleges and corporate-sponsored teams competed in the same tournament.

The arena was renamed Charles Koch Arena when it received a $6 million endowment from Charles G. Koch and underwent a $25 million renovation in 2002-03. The Wichita State Shockers men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball teams play in the arena.

The school continues to honor Henry Levitt's name by naming the school's athletic complex—which includes Charles Koch Arena, Cessna Stadium and a new student services building—Henry Levitt Athletic Complex.


This Web exclusive information is a supplement to Reroofing the Roundhouse.

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