University of Houston to Open Phase One of New University Center

Opening Events and Festivities Planned Jan. 22-Jan. 30

OpeningAfter six years of planning and almost 18 months of construction, students at the University of Houston will celebrate the opening of Phase 1 of the New UC Transformation project with events scheduled Jan. 22- Jan. 30.

The $53 million first phase of renovation includes UC North offices— home to various student organizations and campus resource centers, a Student Government Association (SGA) Senate Chamber, a 450-seat theater, Woodforest National Bank, a two-level Barnes and Noble bookstore, game rooms and a new food court featuring national dining outlets including Starbucks, McDonald’s, Panda Express and Chick-Fil-A.

“Through renovation of the University Center, we wanted to create a one-of-a-kind experience that epitomizes student life and student success at UH,” said Keith Kowalka, assistant vice president of student affairs at UH. “The new space has already become a relaxing destination for students and the campus community, as well as a central location for campus resources, retail outlets and food operations.”

Opening festivities for the UC North kick off on Wednesday (Jan. 22) with a ribbon cutting for the UC North Collaborative Lounge and will conclude in the early morning hours of Jan. 31 when students are invited to try out the new Games Room. One of the highlights of the opening festivities includes the dedication of the University Center World Trade Center Monument (Jan. 29). Beginning in 2009, the SGA worked with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to procure a piece of steel from the World Trade Center to honor the victims of Sept. 11, 2001 and all first responders.

Phase 1 construction began in April 2012. The work continues on the second phase of the New UC, which will open in January 2015. Once the second phase is complete, the New UC will feature the renovated Houston Room, 20 new or renovated meeting rooms, the Legacy Lounge honoring current and former Cougars, a retail corridor featuring Shasta’s Cones and More, a technology store and Freshii, an organic/vegetarian food service option. The UC renovations were funded, in large part, by an increase to the UC fee, which was approved by the student body in a 2008 referendum. The total cost of renovation is $80 million. 

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, Jan. 22

  • UC North Ribbon Cutting: 10 a.m. in the UC North Collaborative Lounge

Monday, Jan. 27

  • UC North Open House: 10 a.m.- 2p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 28

  • Barnes and Noble @ The University of Houston Ribbon Cutting: 2:30 at the UH Bookstore first floor. Open House from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 29

  • UH Dining Services Ribbon Cutting: 10:30 a.m. at the New UC food court. Open House from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • World Trade Center Memorial Dedication Ceremony: 1 p.m. at the University Center World Trade Center Monument and Reflection Garden (in front of the UC Theater)

Thursday, Jan. 30

  • UC Theater Opening Events: Noon-10 p.m. at the UC Theater
  • Aaron Parazette Art Opening: 2 p.m., located outside of the UC Theater
  • Games Room Open House: 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the UC Games Room

For more information on the New UC, visit