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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Campus

Out with the old, in with the new


President Renu Khator and Mack Rhoades reveal the design for the metallic, skyline-framing stadium. Christopher Shelton/The Daily Cougar

One of UH’s goals in building the new 40,000 seat stadium was to better connect the team with the city. The orientation of the stadium was an unlikely solution.

Robertson Stadium had a north-to-south orientation that did not highlight the Houston skyline, while the new stadium is oriented from east to west. According to uh.edu, the new facility will give television audiences a clear view of the skyline while improving shading.

“This is an exciting time for the University of Houston and the city of Houston,” said athletics director Mack Rhoades. “We believe the stadium will serve as a focal point of college football for the nation’s fourth largest city.”

UH will play its first game in the new stadium on Aug. 30, 2014 with an as yet unnamed opponent. The stadium will be constructed where Robertson stood.  It will have the ability to expand to a capacity of 60,000, though expansion will depend on demand, Rhoades said.

New synthetic turf on the field will allow UH to host high school games, intramural events and band practices.

UH has not yet decided on a name for the $105 million stadium.

Out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools, only 11 have naming rights deals for their stadiums. UH seeks to become the 12th.

“We are in conversation with several groups,” Rhoades said. “A naming rights deal usually takes somewhere between 12 to 18 months.”

Rutgers signed a 10-year, $6.5 million deal to rename Rutgers Stadium to High Point Solutions Stadium. Texas Tech University’s Jones SBC Stadium was named after the University received a corporate gift exceeding $25 million from SBC Communications. AT&T was added to the name in 2006 after the telecommunications giant purchased SBC Communications.

UH is still deciding where the team will play its home schedule next season and has not ruled out playing in multiple venues. The decision will be made by late January, Rhoades said. The difficulty lies in coordinating professional and college schedules, since professional schedules are released later.

UH wanted a stadium that would stand out and connect with the campus, said Larry Speck, principal architect at PageSoutherlandPage, one of the firms chosen to design the stadium.

“One thing from the very beginning that (Rhoades) and his team made clear was that they wanted something spectacular, not just a generic business-as-usual stadium,” Speck said. “We wanted it to fit on the campus and be a part of the University of Houston.”

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