Athletics facilities continue construction over summer
Fall semester is fast approaching, and students will soon swarm campus after a relatively quiet summer.
One part of UH that stayed alive during the summer, and looks to continue for some time, is construction on the Athletics Department’s new and updated facilities throughout campus.
TDECU Stadium is getting a few updates, while the Hofheinz Pavilion on its way to transforming into the Fertitta Center. New structures include the new state-of-the-art football practice facility as well as a new two story baseball clubhouse.
Updates to TDECU Stadium
The stadium is getting a few new bells and whistles as part of its attempt to accommodate the growing fan base and student body. New work includes 360-degree ribbon boards on the façade of the second level with two new field level LED boards.
Two sections of seating within the stadium, sections 128 and 130, are switching from bleacher seats to chair-back seating, too, according to Athletics spokesman David Bassity.
“We are also improving and expanding our closed captioning system for our hearing-impaired fans,” Bassity said.
All work on the stadium will be completed before the football team’s first home game against Rice on Sept. 16.
Football practice facility
Work on this practice facility started in December. It will be completed during the first half of the football season this fall, if weather permits.
Student athletes can expect a full-size synthetic field along with an area on the east side for additional workout space. Without a completed indoor practice field, the team has used the Texans’ bubble facility due to weather a few times already early in training camp.
Once the facility is complete, the team will have protection from lighting and thunderstorms and not have to waste time and money traveling to another facility, Bassity said.
After a $20 million donation and a lot of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the plans for the Fertitta Center are now well underway.
The interior will be completely renovated. The low ceiling will be removed, seating will be switched to a bowl style and there will be an addition of two large club areas with VIP amenities.
Renovations will also include a new audio system, sports lighting and video boards as well as new concession stands and expanded restrooms.
“This is going to be a happening place on our campus again,” said Tilman Fertitta, the facility’s namesake and chair of the UH System Board of Regents.
The football and basketball teams are not the only ones getting an upgrade this offseason. Baseball will be getting a two-story clubhouse that is meant to maximize the potential of each player, Bassity said.
“The Player Development Center and Clubhouse will provide the student athletes with a comfortable working environment,” Bassity said.
Bassity said weather delays have shifted the schedule for the clubhouse’s construction, and he could not estimate a completion date.
The 20,645 feet clubhouse will be adjacent to Cougar Field down the third base line. Amenities include new locker rooms, a training room, a video area and an observation deck.
“The new Player Development Center and Clubhouse has been a long-term goal for my staff since we arrived in 2010,” said baseball head coach Todd Whitting. “Once this project is completed, it will conclude the master plan for our facility.”