Staff Editorial: Slated stadium improvements give room for hope

Cougar fans have long been complaining about Robertson Stadium’s deterioration and the lack of attention it has received from the UH Athletics Department. However, with construction set to begin on the newly approved Wilhelmina Robertson Smith Stadium Complex April 2009, fans have newfound hope for their 67-year-old stadium.

The $38.7 million renovation will feature 131,000 square feet of renovated space, 5,000 new seats for fans, 22 suites and new concession stands.

Also included are new locker rooms, player lounges, academic office space and a new home for the UH Hall of Honor.

The renovations will be the first since 2006, when UH added a new playing surface, lighting system, scoreboard and video replay board.

Compared to other area college football stadiums, Robertson may not be the worst, but is nowhere near the best. But, UH does not have near the athletics funding that the University of Texas or Texas A’M have and therefore cannot afford to build the mega-stadiums those schools have.

The supporters that UH does have are making these changes possible. Wilhelmina Robertson Smith has contributed more than $10 million already and has anticipated giving more. Athletics has raised more than $12 million, and the rest will come from ticket revenue and bonds, which should keep their hands out of fans’ pockets for the most part.

Although this is a giant step forward, what happens after the complex is complete will be just as important.

Three sides of Robertson will remain in their current states once construction is completed, leaving a majority of the fans, including students, with lesser facilities. How long the school waits to make its next improvements could cause a short honeymoon for the complex. Prior to the 2006 renovation, Robertson hadn’t seen a major upgrade since 1999.

Let’s also not forget Hofheinz Pavilion is in need of some attention as well.

While Hofheinz received a new floor in 2004, luxury suites in 1999 and upgraded locker rooms in 1992, the majority of fans who sit in the lower bowl have not seen a major change in quite some time.

The Wilhelmina Robertson Smith Stadium Complex, set to be completed September 2010, will be a major accomplishment for Athletics. Not only will it draw new fans to Robertson Stadium, but it will also give fans a peek at what the future of the stadium could hold.

The University hopes to make this just the first of many improvements to its older facilities.

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