University Of Houston Announces Stadium Plans

The school prepares to spend $160 million to build a new football stadium and renovate its basketball arena

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University of Houston's New Stadium Levels Playing Field

Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle writes that the University of Houston’s plans for a new football stadium are seen as a game-changer for the entire university, not just the football team.

“It changes everything,” UH women’s basketball coach Todd Buchanan said. “It puts us on a level playing field with a lot of the entities within the state of Texas along with anybody in the entire country. It gives us the resources to recruit and compete.

“It’s absolutely phenomenal the commitment of this administration, the vision. It is absolutely amazing. I just swell with pride. I swell with pride in bleeding Cougar red.”

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University Of Houston Announces Stadium Plans

The chance to build a new football stadium, or at very least significantly renovate Robertson Stadium, has been the metaphorical carrot on the stick for the Houston Cougar fan base. No matter how much money is raised, the school never seems to get any closer to breaking ground.

Until Thursday.

Finally, Coog fans get to see what they have to look forward to. Finally, the decision makers feel that their plans are close enough to reality that it's safe to make them public. The plans involve building a brand new football stadium, and renovating Hofheinz Pavilion:

With an estimated cost of $120 million, the new football stadium will be built on the current site of Robertson Stadium. While the new facility will hold 40,000 fans initially, design plans easily accommodate expansion to more than 50,000 in the future.

The [basketball] arena will house two new practice courts, office suites for the men's and women's basketball and volleyball programs, team academic/video rooms and space for sports medicine and sports performance.

The renovations, which are expected to cost approximately $40 million, will put fans closer to the action with 250 floor seats and 100 loge box seats.

The decision-makers did their best to downplay the significance of the timing of this announcement, but they're not fooling anybody. With the first dominoes of conference realignment starting to fall, UH needs to make itself look as appealing as possible. That means assuring any and all potential suitor conferences that the school's facilities will soon exit the 1970's.

After working on buyouts for departed coaches Tom Penders and Rayner Noble, athletics director Mack Rhoades continues to write checks. Rhoades was brought down from Akron largely because of the fund-raising ability he showed there. So let's hope he can find the scratch to cash all of these checks he's writing.

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