Men's Basketball Sports

$5 million increase approved in basketball development facility budget

The new basketball development facility’s budget was increased to $25 million from $20 million.

The $5 million is coming from the Student Fee account earmarked for football and basketball, said Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance Carl Carlucci at today’s Administration and Finance committee meeting before the Board of Regents in the Student Center South ballroom.

Athletics Director Mack Rhoades said that the program is “still raising money for the facility.” Currently, $20 million of the $25 million budget is coming from donations.

“There was really never a change in scope (of the facility),” said Rhoades. “We had to deal with some escalated construction costs.”

The facility, which is projected to be completed in October 2015, however Rhoades said that the project may “go a little longer” than expected.

“Unfortunately we’ve experienced… too many rain days,” said Rhoades.

Carlucci said that steel “is going up now” in the facility, and that the construction schedule suffered from rain delays when they were laying down the foundation.

“Construction costs in Houston (have) flattened out currently, and it looks like construction costs may even trend downward in the near future,” said Rhoades.

After the development facility is complete, the department is expected to turn its attention toward Hofheinz Pavilion. The University is in the midst of a feasibility study that will help it determine the structure’s future.

The feasibility study is expected to be completed in mid-March. The Board of Regents Audits and Compliance committee will meet later today to present a summary update on an internal audit being conducted on any possible violations of the Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the student body. The MOU was approved in 2012 and allocated a portion of the Student Service fee to funding the renovation of Hofheinz Pavilion.

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  • But what about about student fees for a new facility Dr. Carl? You guys are so good at hiding our student fees. Sloppy

    • My understanding is that the student fee for TDECU Stadium and Hofheinz Pavilion are being collected for the next 25 years, so for the SGA to say the university has broken the MOU because there are no fee funds left for the basketball arena is a bit perplexing to an outsider looking in. I also see that the MOU (a link of which is on the SGA’s website) does not state that half the fee amount is supposed to go toward the football stadium and half toward Hofheinz, as the SGA president has stated (at least from what I have read in the Cougar). I also see that the MOU says students are entitled to annual events at the stadium rent-free. So why does the SGA feel that means the student groups should not have to pay any of the other costs associated with an event? Where does the MOU say that? Short bald-headed inquiring minds want to know!

      • Given some of the reporting that has been done, I’m not surprised there is confusion. I’ll try to briefly address your points.

        Although always reported as the MOU, it is actually the referendum, a component of which is the MOU which references that 1/2 of the funds will be used for constuction of the stadium and Hoffeinz, respectively.

        Also, note the funds that are referenced are from a bond offering of approx. $57mil. The debt service on these bonds is being paid by the studebt service fee increase of $45 to the tune of $83+mil over 25 years.

        When the MOU was negotiated, athletics managed the facilities. The intent of the MOU was that UH would not profit from students twice a year for use of the facilities. With Aramark/VenuWorks, we are required to utilize their services inside the stadium and arena. For 6 months we fought over whether the charges associated with using the facilities should be done at cost. We felt it was wrong for Aramark or the university to profit off studebt organizations. Eventually, President Khator sided with students and we have renegotiated the language of the MOU this week to remove ambiguity.

        • Followup question: How is charging for the cost of providing security (one of the non-rent costs associated with holding an event) considered profiting off the students? Seems that it would be recouping the money spent on security, not actually making a profit off of it. Is it my understanding that the SGA wants the university to foot the entire bill associated with holding an event at the stadium, even if it means UH loses money? Is that specifically stated in the revamped MOU?

          • Your understanding seems to be a common misconception. When the MOU was negotiated, Athletics was responsible for stadium/arena management. Now that Aramark/Venueworks manages the facilities, we are required to utilize their services for everything in the stadium (security, stages, lighting, sound, etc) and are no longer allowed to put those services out to bid.

            The intent of the MOU was that UH would not charge us fees to utilize the stadium/arena twice each year. We firmly believe, and Presidebt Khator concurred, that if we are required to utilize the university’s contractor, the services should be provided “at-cost” with no profit for the university, nor its contractor.

            This does not mean we don’t pay for the services- in fact we do. Frontier Fiesta is paying around $48,000 for services associated with their event in the stadium to VenuWorks. But that is down from previous price quotes of $440,000 and $270,000.

            • If that was the “intent” of the MOU, why did the MOU not say that to begin with? Were you involved in the original negotiations of the MOU when it was created in 2012? Is it your position that the university and its contractor were actually going to profit off the students by charging the other non-rent fees? Short bald-headed inquiring minds want to know!

              • There was no way we could have foreseen that operational control of the facilities would be transferred from Athletics to the Div of A&F. Nor could we foresee that A&F would hire a 3rd party to manage the facilities. At the time the only potential charge was a “facility usage fee”.

                No I was not involved at the time. My predecessor was.

                Yes, both the university and the contractor profit from selling services in the facilities. With the new MOU, students will not be subject to charges that have any profit margin for our two events each year.

                I hope that answers your questions.

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