UH’s athletic department is closer to getting the funds needed for the renovations to Hofheinz Pavilion and a new football stadium.
The department has currently raised $40 million, but is still trying to cover the cost of $75-80 million for the football stadium.
“We are in the fundraising arm, but what we are getting are commitments,” Cassie Arner, associate athletics director for communications said. “People aren’t writing checks at the moment, but we have commitment for about $40 million.”
Even though the university faces budget cuts, the renovations to Hofheinz Pavilion and the new football stadium are safe because the funds come from private donations, according to Arner.
The department is only counting money from people who have made firm commitments, not those who have shown interest, according to Arner. They are focusing on getting additional commitments from individuals before moving on to the corporate side.
“We’ll sit down and talk about what interest they have in being a part of the project,” Arner said. “There are things like naming rights — and not just stadium naming rights, but the individual parts of the facilities that are open to naming rights.”
Arner said facilities like the lockers rooms, press boxes, and academic facilities within the new football stadium will all be open to naming rights.
“We feel confident that we need to get to $75-80 million to advance the program to be able to move forward and start with the designing phase of the project.”
While the university will unveil its new football stadium in 2013 to replace the 68-year-old Robertson Stadium, Hofheinz Pavilion will be getting a facelift in large part to keep most of its storied tradition.
“It’s an honor to walk in that building and see so many banners and jerseys and being around Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, just to name a few,” said James Dickey, men’s basketball head coach. “It’s important to honor that tradition and those people.”
Arner said the tradition will be kept alive because the renovations will be made to the existing structure, which will give it the same look and feel.
Head coaches Todd Buchanan and Dickey have been allowed to have an input on what amenities the new Hofheinz Pavilion should have.
“We share ideas about what we think will be important,” Dickey said. “Obviously we want to fit in cosmetically with what the university is doing, but at the same time we want to have as many amenities as possible for the student athletes.”
The renovations include hospitality seating, loge boxes and suites, as well as practice facilities for the basketball team and necessary amenities such as sports medicine and academics.
The renovated Hofheinz is already playing an intricate part of the recruiting process for Dickey and his staff who have begun to use it for recruits.