top of page
  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Swinney Recreation Center - Kansas City Roos

Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Swinney Recreation Center 5030 Holmes Street Kansas City, MO 64110

Year Opened: 1941 Capacity: 1,500


The Kangaroo Court

The University of Missouri-Kansas City opened in 1933 as the University of Kansas City. It became a part

of the University of Missouri System in 1963, resulting in its existing name. Today the school has more

than 16,000 students enrolled in the school, taking classes in more than 125 academic areas. The

school’s campus is located in the downtown area of Kansas City.

The school chose the kangaroo as the mascot for the school in 1937 when the Kansas City Zoo received its first pair of Kangaroos. The school now uses the shortened version of ‘Roo in its references to its sports teams. The live team mascot’s name is KC Roo.

The basketball program began in 1954. Before 1986 it competed at the NAIA level. It moved up to the

Division I level in 1987. The school was a member of the WAC conference from 2014-2020 and now

competes in the Summit League. Over the years, the Roo’s have called a variety of venues in Kansas

City area home. These include the Municipal Auditorium, Kemper Arena, Hale Arena and the

Independence (MO) Events Center.

Since 2019 the Roo’s have played in the on-campus Swinney Recreation Center, as the administration

felt this would increase school spirit and create greater interest in the athletic programs. The Swinney

Recreation Center was built in 1941 and has gone through numerous renovations over the years. The

games are played on the competition court in the gym, which has a capacity of 1,600 fans.

To prepare for the move to Swinney, the school made numerous changes to the facility in 2019. These changes

included a total rebranding of the program as the Kansas City Roos. The playing court received a

dramatic graphics package depicting the updated version of its Roos mascot, along with the Kansas City


The school’s blue and yellow school colors are now ever-present throughout the facility. Other

upgrades to Swinney included the installation of four new videoboards and a total renovation of the

lobby to better serve the fan's needs.

In addition to the basketball arena, Swinney Recreation Center has weight rooms, five multipurpose

courts, racquetball and squash courts, 3 fitness studios, and a 25-yard indoor lap pool.

Food & Beverage 4

The concessions program at Swinney Recreation Center offers a concessions program out of one location located in the lobby of the building just off the playing court. It is large enough to serve several lines of people out of this single location.

The food and beverage program at Roos games is broader than you might expect. Its offerings include hot dogs ($5), brats ($5), hamburgers ($5), cheeseburgers ($6), nachos w/cheese ($5), popcorn ($2.50), chips ($2.50) and candy ($2.50). Beverages include bottled water ($2.50), Coca-Cola brand sodas ($3), Coors Light ($6), Miller Light ($6), Boulevard Pale Ale ($6), Boulevard Wheat ($5), Pino Grigio ($6), Rose ($6) and Red Wine ($6).

Atmosphere 5

UMKC has done a great job in creating more excitement about athletics at the school through its rebranding of the teams as the Roos and using vibrant blue and yellow school colors throughout its sports facilities. The excitement starts at Swinney Recreation Center as soon as you enter the lobby.

The lobby features displays on the athletic achievements of the various sports teams, an explanation of how the Roos name came about, the lyrics to the school’s fight song, and photos reaching up the walls featuring the various sports teams at the school. These displays are all done in the school colors.

The lobby is at the same level as the court, which is visible through windows on the other side of the lobby. In this way, fans will not miss any of the action on the court when they are at the concession stand. This area also includes a spirit table with thunder sticks and other special sports giveaways at each game. There is also a wide variety of Roos branded merchandise available for sale in the lobby.

The competition court features the colors of the school prominently, as well as a depiction of the kangaroo mascot that spans the middle third of the playing area. There are banners in the stands identifying the Rowdy Roos student section as well.

Neighborhood 5

UMKC is an urban school located in the South Plaza neighborhood near downtown Kansas City, MO. The school is near many excellent restaurants, including longtime favorite Minsky’s Pizza as well as Jack Stack Barbecue. (Kansas City is renowned for its special variety of BBQ) Being downtown also means that UMKC is close to many of the city’s best attractions, including the Toy and Miniatures Museum and the JC Nichols Fountain. Kansas City is also known as the “ City of Fountains”, due to its many extravagant fountains.

UMKC is located just south of the Country Club Plaza. This was the first planned suburban shopping center the first regional shopping center to accommodate shoppers arriving by car. It is not a shopping center as we think of today, but a neighborhood of shops spread out over several blocks. It is known for its unique architecture, as well as its variety of restaurants and hotels.

Fans 2

Swinney Recreation Center has one of the smallest capacity arenas in the country at 1,600 seats. This means the seats are near the court. A majority of the fans in attendance are from the student body or have a family member on the Roos team. Teams in the Summit League are not likely to bring a lot of fans with them to a game. Because UMKC is a downtown campus, a large percentage of the students live off campus and are not likely to come to a game after daytime classes are over.

The student section is known as the Rowdy Roos. They are known for their creativity when it comes to cheers. They are a major weapon when it comes to disrupting the visiting team’s communications due to the constant commotion they cause.

Access 3

Directions from Kansas City International Airport (MCI): Take I-29 South into Kansas City. Take exit 3 onto US 71 South and go 3.7 miles. Take exit 190 to Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard. Turn right on Cleaver Boulevard and go one mile. Turn left on Rockhill Road, then take the first right into the parking area. Swinney Recreation Center is located atop the hill next to the Student Success Center.

Free parking is available on levels 5 and 6 of the Cherry Street Parking Garage (50th and Cherry Street) Parkin is also available in lots 38 or 4 for $6.00.

Return on Investment 3

There are three price levels for tickets at Swinney Recreation Center. Courtside seats are $19. Sideline reserved seats are $17 and Club reserved seats are $10. Parking is free on levels 5 and 6 of the Cherry Street Garage or for $6.00 in lots 38 and 4 (these are closer to Swinney Recreation Center). Concession prices at the Recreation Center are quite reasonable.


Extras 4

Swinney Recreation Center is named for a Kansas City banker who raised $250,000 to build a recreational building for the students' use. The boosters club for the Roos basketball program is known as “KCDC”. This stands for Kansas City Dunkers Club. The graphics package on the Swinney basketball court certainly deserves an extra of its own.

Swinney Recreation Center Court Graphics, Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

Fans have the opportunity to be a part of the Courtside Club on a game-by-game basis. The Courtside Club is a pregame and halftime hospitality area. The package includes a buffet with hors d’oerves, as well as tailgate fare. Club members also receive a pregame chalk talk with one of the basketball team’s assistant coaches. Courtside Club membership is available to fans who purchase courtside-level seats and pay $35 over and beyond the ticket price.

Final Thoughts

The KC Roos experience at the Swinney Recreation Center is enjoyable if not impressive. The small size of the basketball arena allows the fans to be very close to the action, no matter what level seat you purchased. You are not going to see the Roos playing in March Madness, but that doesn’t mean the competition on the court is not intense. The Roos program does provide Kansas City residents with a basketball fix an outlet to enjoy their game. Besides, the Jayhawks tickets are impossible to come by in nearby Lawrence.

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page