$20 million practice facility budget gains Board approval
UH’s basketball practice facility took an expected step forward when the Board of Regents approved a $20 million budget Wednesday.
The Cougars will still compete at Hofheinz Pavilion while the new structure is being completed.
UH is expected to break ground in May for the new practice facility, which will include a full court and half court for each team, locker rooms, team lounges, academic/film rooms and coaching office suites.
“It’s a much-needed facility. It’s going to help to put us on a level playing field to the rest of our competitors, so it’s a great day for our coaches,” said athletics director Mack Rhoades after his presentation to the Finance Committee. “In particular, our student athletes for both programs.”
The Athletics Department has selected architectural and construction firms for the facility, which was funded through private donations. DLR Group and Page Southerland Page will serve as the facility’s architects. The two collaborated first for work on UH’s new football stadium, which will open in August.
Austin Commercial will serve as the building’s construction manager.
“We’ve had an initial meeting with them, so they’ve started to focus in on design,” Rhoades said.
The practice facility is a peg in the Cougars’ push to improve their out-of-date athletic facilities. During the the past year, UH spent “about $1.25 million,” Rhoades said, on the installation of FieldTurf at Houston Baseball’s Cougar Field, $250,000 to redo the softball locker room and $120 million on the new football stadium. The Cougars also plan a $40 million-plus renovation of Hofheinz Pavilion after the practice facility is completed.
For President Renu Khator, it is important for the University to attempt large projects in both athletics and academics.
“The University of Houston is a big university with big ambitions. We have a large student body, and we had a tremendous space deficit,” Khator said.