HOUSTON – The University of Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs moved closer to a new competition home facility when school regents approved the start of the design process for the renovation of the Houston Basketball arena during its meeting Thursday afternoon.
Regents approved a project budget of up to $60 million with an anonymous donor pledging a $20 million gift to facilitate the arena’s renovation.
Design work is scheduled to begin in March 2016 with construction starting one year later. Plans for the Cougars’ home facility during the 2017-18 season have not been finalized and will be announced at a later date. The renovated facility is expected to be ready for game competition for the beginning of the 2018-19 season.
“This project has been long overdue, and we are grateful that Dr. Khator and our Board of Regents saw the need for this step with our basketball arena,” Vice President for Athletics Hunter Yurachek said. “We look forward to starting the design process in the next few months and creating a facility that will provide the highest level of amenities to our fans and a significant home-court advantage for our Men’s and Women’s Basketball student-athletes.”
Preliminary estimated capacity for the renovated arena will be reduced to 7,420 from its current seating bowl of 8,479. However, initial plans call for the court level to be raised three feet with fan seating moved closer to the court as part of an emphasis to improve the overall fan experience.
More than 2,000 premium seats will be developed to give fans the ultimate luxury seating options. That total includes a preliminary design of 1,750 club seats, 20 loge boxes with four seats in each, two open-air suites with 32 seats per unit and 90 courtside seats.
The arena’s concourse level will be expanded to improve circulation with significant upgrades to the sound system, video board and arena seating.
RECENT CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
The renovation of the Basketball arena is only the latest improvement around the Houston Athletics complex. The Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams will soon move into the $25-million Guy V. Lewis Basketball Center, built adjacent to Hofheinz Pavilion at the corner of Cullen Boulevard and Holman Street on the UH campus.
Houston Baseball recently added college baseball’s largest video board at Cougar Field and unveiled renderings of a new 20,645 square-foot Player Development Center and Clubhouse.
Renovation to Tom Tellez Track at Carl Lewis International Complex and the Houston Soccer Field began this week following a $1.5 million donation, and TDECU Stadium, the $125 million home of Houston Football, opened in August 2014.
Houston Football also saw the renovation of two practice fields, while Houston's Cougar Field underwent the installation of FieldTurf and new stadium lights. Houston Softball's locker room completed a renovation. At Golf Club of Houston in nearby Humble, the home of Houston Men's and Women's Golf recently added the Mike and Pat Booker Short Game Facility.
The Men's team continue its 2015-16 season when it plays host to Florida A&M at 7 p.m., Saturday, inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
That game can be heard live on 950 AM KPRC with Matt Thomas calling the play-by-play action and Houston legend and Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes providing analysis. Dave Raymond will call the play-by-play, and Houston great Reid Gettys offers analysis on the ESPN3 broadcast.
It will be the second of five consecutive regular-season home games for the Cougars to open the year.
HOW TO ORDER TICKETS
Houston Men's and Women's Basketball fans have a variety of ticket options to accommodate any budget. Season tickets, group tickets, single-game tickets and 3-Point Packs are on sale now. To purchase tickets or for complete information, fans can visit uhcougars.com/tickets and follow the appropriate links or click here.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office from 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge.
Fans can receive the latest news and notes by following @UHCougarMBK and @UHCougarWBBon Twitter. Fans also can discuss the latest Houston Basketball news and notes on the team's Facebook pages by clicking LIKE at HoustonCougarMensHoops and at HoustonCougarWomensBasketball.