Regents Approve New Stadium Comples, East Garage

August 28, 2008

The home of Cougar football soon will undergo a major transformation.

Thanks to an extensive renovation to the University of Houston’s Robertson Stadium, fans and players alike will have an entirely different game-day experience.

Last week, the University of Houston System Board of Regents approved the construction of a new $38.7 million sports complex at Robertson Stadium’s north end zone.

The Wilhelmina Robertson Smith Pavilion will change the face of the existing stadium adding premium seating, conference facilities, club and banquet space, meeting rooms, classrooms and new concession areas. It also will house offices for the UH athletic department, new team locker rooms and a media area for interviews. Construction of the complex is scheduled to begin in April 2009 and wrap by September 2010.

Named for longtime Houston civic leader and UH supporter Smith, the new facility also will be the site of an expanded UH Hall of Honor that pays tribute to those who have contributed to UH’s legacy both on and off the field.

Presently, $12 million has been raised for the facility, and additional donors are still being sought to help fund the project.

“The heavy lifting begins now. There are many details to work out. An architect and contractor have not yet been selected,” said Dave Maggard, UH athletics director. “While there is some momentum, we are now in the process of planning our ground breaking. If at all possible, we’d like to start sometime during this football season.”

Following the completion of the pavilion, the vacated office space at the Athletics Alumni Center will be available for use by the university. It has not been determined how it will be used.

Also approved by the board is a new $18 million parking garage to accommodate future residents of the Calhoun Lofts and provide parking for faculty, staff, students and visitors. Located on Calhoun Road across the street from the lofts and Cemo Hall (both of which are under construction), the East Garage will have 1,500 parking spaces. Construction will begin this fall and is scheduled to wrap by July 2009.

“The university is growing rapidly,” said Dave Irvin, associate vice president for plant operations. “It’s important that we provide parking for current and future Cougars. This new garage is another step forward for the university’s master plan and is no doubt a highly anticipated campus structure.”

Mike Emery