Allen Fieldhouse was dedicated on March 1, 1955 when the Jayhawks defeated their in-state rival, the Kansas State Wildcats, 77-67. Since then renovations have included minor seating expansions in 1986 and 1994, as well as accessibility upgrades in 1999 to modernize concession stands and restroom facilities, and to install an elevator in the south end. Handicapped seating was moved courtside behind both baskets in 2001.
Renovations completed in 2005 include a thorough cleaning of the exterior, and the creation of a new Booth Family Hall of Athletics facility on the east side of the Fieldhouse. Interior renovations include a new hardwood court, new windows, and a multi-million dollar video board and sound system. After 2006, new banners for the retired jerseys and conference and national championships were installed.
Banners hang in the south rafters to honor such Jayhawk greats as Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Lovellette, Jo Jo White, Danny Manning, Paul Pierce, Lynette Woodard, Kirk Hinrich, Drew Gooden, and Nick Collison. There is also a banner to honor Max Falkenstien, the legendary Jayhawks radio announcer, who served the university for more than 60 years. To date he is the only non-athlete to be honored at Allen Fieldhouse in this way. The east and west sides are devoted to KU's conference championships (a total of 50 as of 2007) as members of the Missouri Valley Conference, Big Six, Big Seven, Big Eight, and Big 12 Conference, as well as the Jayhawks' trips to the Final Four and national championships in 1922, 1923 (Helms Foundation championships), 1952, and 1988.
The concourse was originally an indoor track, and at times the Fieldhouse has been home to men's and women's basketball, indoor track and field, volleyball, and practice facilities for the football and softball teams. It has since specialized as facilities were constructed around campus to accommodate these needs, and now serves exclusively as the home for Jayhawk basketball.
Allen Fieldhouse has also hosted several NCAA tournament regionals, NBA exhibition games, and occasional speakers and concerts.
Kansas won 62 consecutive games at the Fieldhouse between January 30, 1994 and November 21, 1998. This mark exceeded the previous school record of 55 games, which lasted from February 22, 1984 through January 30, 1988. However, the 55-game streak remains a conference record for the old Big Eight, while the 62-game streak spanned both the Big Eight and Big 12 conferences.
Max Falkenstien was a stalwart figure in the radio booth, working every home game in Allen from its construction to his retirement in 2006, nearly sixty years later.
Prior to playing at Allen, the basketball team played at Hoch Auditorium, their home from the beginning of the 1927 season to the end of the 1955 season. Before that, the Jayhawks played at Robinson Gymnasium, whose design was heavily influenced by the advice of Dr. Naismith, was razed in 1967 and is now the site of Wescoe Hall.
Allen Fieldhouse was originally built with a capacity of 17,000. During Ted Owens' coaching period, the capacity was reduced to 15,200. It was raised to 15,800 in the 1986 offseason (Larry Brown was the coach at the time), and since 1993, its official capacity has been 16,300. Of these seats, 4,000 are dedicated to current KU students, with most of the remainder taken by season-ticket-holding members of the Williams Educational Fund, the fundraising arm of KU Athletics, named after Lawrence banker Dick Williams and his sons, Skipper and Odd. The largest crowd in Allen Fieldhouse for a basketball game was 17,228 on March 1, 1955 when the building was dedicated. Barring another expansion of seating, it is unlikely that this record will ever be broken as fire codes have forced KU to strictly enforce the building's capacity since the mid-1980s.