By the end of this season, Houston will have lost another piece of its heritage to the constant march of time — this is Robertson Stadium’s last year in existence.
In 1942, Houston Independent School District and the Works Progress Administration finished work on Public School Stadium, or Robertson Stadium as it is now known. UH played at Public School Stadium for its first few seasons until 1951, when it started to share the field with Rice University at what was then called Houston Stadium — now just Rice Stadium. The Cougars would jump around from what had to be every stadium left in town and ended up playing at the Astrodome around 1965.
It wasn’t until 1994 that UH returned to what is now considered to be home field, and even then the University was bussing back and forth between the stadium and the Astrodome. By then, Public School Stadium had been renamed twice — first to Jeppesen Stadium and then to Robertson Stadium in 1980 after Corbin J. Robertson provided the funds necessary to renovate the stadium as well as bring it under full UH ownership.
It’s already been decided that Robertson will be done away with for good. In its place will be a brand new stadium, with all the fancy flair and sparkle that a Big East competitor expects from a venue.
With barely 20 years of play time at Robertson, it at first hardly seems wise or prudent to be spending so much money for a new stadium.
That is only the case if it’s ignored that the University was built for momentum. UH is a dynamic university, and it is constantly changing.
The University’s strength is in its ability to adapt itself to the constant shifts in society. This is why its second in the nation for diversity, ranked Tier One for research and has managed to burst into national headlines as one of the best colleges in the country.
It’s been said before, but it needs restating: The burden of change once again falls on the students. Students voted to take on extra fees in order to pay for this new stadium, so the naming of that stadium should be left up to the students. It will give them a sense of accomplishment — no matter where they end up, they can always know they had an impact on their alma mater.
The problem with having a new stadium isn’t with who gets to name it or who’s funding it. The problem is that performance at this campus has been shoddy at best, and I’m not talking about the football team.
Lately, the greatest offenders have committed more harm with inaction rather than action. It hardly seems fitting for students to turn Robertson into a ghost town every home game in its last year of operation. If the low attendance of the last two home games persists through 2014, it’s a solid guarantee that UH will be the laughing stock of the entire collegiate community.
When the Cougars played their first season at Public School Stadium, UH lost its first game and ended up with a 4-6 record. This year, despite the football team’s valiant efforts, things are looking a bit grim.
I have no idea how the stands looked when the Cougars first walked onto the field in 1946, but if UH is worthy of another stadium, then when it faces Tulane for the last game at Robertson, there better not be an empty seat left in the house.
James Wang is a history sophomore and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.