New football stadium nears topping-out ceremony
Just 327 days remain before the doors open to the brand-new $100 million-plus stadium. UH fans will have something to celebrate before the first kickoff in August 2014.
The traditional topping-out ceremony, which commemorates the placement of the last two steel beams to complete the connector bridge in the southeast corner of the stadium, is scheduled for this month.
UH President Renu Khator sees the building of this stadium as a step into the future for UH.
“Our stadium was good. It had a lot of history, but it was kind of tired,” Khator said. “We needed a new stadium that shows the future of the University.”
With the new stadium resting 12 feet below Robertson Stadium’s original field, it will literally be built on the past. The digging for this new, lower bowl started last week, ahead of schedule, and will continue through the end of the year, said Manhattan Construction stadium project manager Matt Doffing.
The lower bowl will house 20,000 of the 40,000 stadium seats, putting fans closer to the field and to the players, which is something sophomore running back Ryan Jackson is looking forward to.
“If we can have more fans for us next year, it’ll be exciting. It will really impact the game,” Jackson said. “It’s just more support behind you … and a lot more people closer to you to cheer you on, so there’s a lot more motivation.”
The orientation of the stadium places UH fans on the south side of the structure and gives a view of the skyline out of the northwest corner. An uninterrupted view of the field is also provided to 67 percent of the 360-degree concourse, according to the stadium’s website.
About 5,000 of those fans will enjoy the game from some of the premium seating offered in the new stadium. A 12,400-square-foot club area will overlook the field from the lower level concourse and will include HD televisions and private restrooms. Spanning from end zone to end zone on the south side, 325-square-foot suites will offer individual upscale services and amenities, according the stadium’s website. Thirty-four private boxes will also be located throughout the stadium and will each house four seats.
No matter where you are in the stadium, fans are sure to see the new scoreboard, complete with a high-definition, LED wide-screen. The former Robertson Stadium scoreboard is incomparable to the new, enlarged scoreboard, Doffing said.
Bathroom lines may also be left in the past. Fifty-six restrooms will be located within the stadium, including 18 primary restrooms in the main concourse, going beyond the minimum the building code dictates, Doffing said.
Also completed is the framing of the new 39,089-square-foot Bert F. Winston Band and Performance Center, which will house recital halls and classroom spaces for the Spirit of Houston as well as the Athletics Ticket Office.
The main structure of the stadium is on schedule to be in place by mid-November, and the concrete structure of the student side, the premium side and the home locker rooms has already been completed, Doffing said.
With everything on schedule, Khator is excited for the impact the stadium will have on the University, but she assures this will not be UH athletics’ peak.
“It’s going to be exciting, and I hope that the facility will also provide people an opportunity and a reason to come together and bond,” Khator said. “They say, if you build it, they’ll come. Well, we built it now, and we’re building it. We’re not done with athletics yet.”