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Sunday, September 24, 2023


New facility on the table for Cougars

The athletics facilities at the University of Houston have had several upgrades since Athletics Director Dave Maggard arrived, but his proposal to add a $30 million north end zone facility to Robertson Stadium may be his most ambitious undertaking.

The only thing holding this campaign back is a $10,000 lead gift for naming rights. Until then, it remains a proposal.

"We need to improve Robertson Stadium. We need to keep pace with the competition on the outside," Maggard said. "Our plans are not to take a step back, our plans are to be bold and not fearful.

"While it looks to be ambitious, we need to do it. We need to be bold. We need to say to the world we’re serious about this University (and) what we’re doing with our program."

The end zone facility would be an addition on the north side of Robertson Stadium that would include a plaza, a new ticket office, a football hall of fame, a gift shop and space for coaches’ offices as well as other facilities. The addition would also include club-level and suite-level seating to the stadium.

When Maggard arrived at Houston in January 2002, he felt the facilities were adequate, but that the football program itself was lacking.

With 2006 Conference USA Coach of the Year Art Briles at the helm and the Cougars preparing for their title defense this season, the program has improved considerably, but now it’s time to upgrade, Maggard said.

"We’ve been trying to play catch-up with our facilities so that we can upgrade them and be competitive with the schools within our conference and around the country. We still have a lot to do," Maggard said.

An addition such as this is something almost all Division I-A universities need to back their programs, Maggard said. The facility would help cement the University’s image as a serious program.

Briles agrees.

"It’s not a desire; it’s a need. All you got to do is float around the state and the conference and the nation and see what direction we need to be headed," Briles said.

The proposed addition and plaza would be a University-wide gathering place for an undermined academic unit and social activities as well, Maggard said.

"I think it can be built in such a way that it can be an asset, an improvement, to the campus. The dynamics of the campus, with these kinds of things, change," Maggard said.

State-of-the-art facilities for athletics, as well as facilities in the academic arena are what prospective athletes look for. The new addition, as well as renovations that have already been made, could help bring in more prospects when the University begins to recruit student athletes, Maggard said.

Over the last five years, the Athletics Department has invested $6.5 million in various upgrades.

Among them are new scoreboards at Robertson Stadium, the Cougar Field (baseball) and Cougar Softball Stadium, the Elmer Redd Strength and Conditioning Center, a new video board for indoor track meets, new outdoor lights for the soccer program and football practice and a remodeled locker room.

New computers for the LifeSkills computer lab have also helped ensure that athletes succeed in their academic careers as well as athletic.

"What it comes down to is does anybody care?" Maggard said. "We’ve said, ‘We care.’ (Now), we got to start moving it, we’ve got to start getting things in better shape."

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