A remarkable new chapter in the University of Houston’s history has begun with the launch of TDECU Stadium, the impressive facility that is home field for the Cougar football games and a site for a multitude of other community events, including concerts and high school football.
The 40,000-seat venue, which replaced historic Robertson Stadium, officially opened Aug. 29, with UH’s nationally televised game against UTSA. Naming rights for the stadium were acquired by TDECU, the largest credit union in the Houston area, following a gift of $15 million for a 10-year period.
“This stadium is a powerful symbol of our commitment to athletics and student success that brings together faculty, staff, students, alumni and the city of Houston,” UH President Renu Khator said. “We cannot thank TDECU enough for helping us to make this important development possible.”
Construction began in late December 2012 with the demolition of the previous stadium (which had been built in 1942), and a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility took place Feb. 8, 2013.
The new stadium, which cost approximately $120 million, features an exterior of red, powder-coated corrugated metal and aluminum panels that allow for optimal air flow and natural lighting into the concourse areas. Unlike the previous stadium, TDECU stadium uses an “East-West” orientation that allows for an optimal view of the downtown Houston skyline. It was also designed to readily accommodate an expansion to 60,000 seats at some point. A recent Houston Chronicle article praised the stadium’s configuration, noting “there isn’t a bad seat in the Coogs’ house.”
UH Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades made sure to applaud the vital role the UH student body played in supporting the new stadium. In a 2012 referendum, students approved an increase in their fees to provide crucial initial funding for the stadium project. “That was a real game-changer,” he said, “and a real turning point for our University.”