Stadium construction reaches high point
About 40 minutes before the last two support beams — one signed by students and the other by donors — were placed in their new position supporting the new football stadium, head coach Tony Levine stepped out of a meeting with coaches and staff members in preparation for Thursday’s game against USF to pay homage to another team.
Levine told his staff that he had to thank the men and women who are on the project.
“I’m fortunate that I’m able to drive by this facility twice a day — on my way in to work in the morning and on my way home late at night,” he said.
The placing of the beams marked the halfway point of stadium’s construction, which will open August 2014.
The student section will take up 5,000 of the available seats, some of which will be field level, putting the students closer to the game. According to the stadium website, the Athletics Department is working with the Student Government Association to have have the best-positioned student section.
“Robertson was a great stadium and it served this community for so long, but it was time. And it just came to a point where we really needed to build a brand new facility,” said Mack Rhoades, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics. “Our students had such a big part of really getting this project done or making it a reality, and for them to be right there on top of the action is really important.”
A special wing in the northwest corner of the stadium has been designed to feature the Houston skyline, adding the inner city to the attraction as well an additional selling point to new recruits who are looking for a college to call home.
“Watching our stadium become a reality right before our eyes has been incredibly exciting. I’m so pleased we’re on schedule and making progress,” said President Renu Khator. “(Monday’s) ceremony was a wonderful reminder that the stadium is something that everybody — students, donors, the campus community, the entire city of Houston — can take pride in.”
The Athletics Department said it hasn’t forgotten about the workers, providing free tickets to Thursday’s game at Reliant Stadium to all stadium personnel.
“We cannot thank you enough for all your hard work with the stadium to this point in time. We know that the second half will be even better. We certainly can’t wait until August when it opens,” Rhoades said.
Rhoades said to honor the construction workers one step further, they will be invited back with a guest for a game during the 2014-15 season to be thanked on the field.
“We’re going to have a packed house — 40,000 people (will) applaud and thank you for everything that you do,” he said. “All I’m going to ask is that you’re a little bit better dressed than what you are today.”