A massive renovation of Robertson Stadium took place in 1999, thanks to a $6 million gift from the John and Julie O'Quinn Foundation to the University of Houston. In addition to the 20 luxury suites added in the summer of 1998, "Phase I" entailed replacement of the current track with a ring of tiered seating, bringing the stadium's capacity to 32,000. To accommodate this tiered seating, the entire playing field was lowered nine feet.
In recognition of John and Julie O'Quinn's generosity and loyal support, the field at Robertson Stadium was named "John O'Quinn Field." The Cougars christened their new field with a 28-3 victory over city-rival Rice, in what was the renewal of the storied Bayou Bucket battle.
Houston "Returned to Robertson," full time in 1998, marking the first time since 1949 that UH played its entire home schedule on campus. With its six home contests a year ago, The Cougars have now posted a 31-25-1 record during that span, thanks in part to a 5-1 mark last season.
In 1999 the Cougars defeated Rice, Louisiana-Lafayette, Cincinnati and Tulane in the friendly confines of "The Mighty Quinn." At one time during the home slate, Houston kept the opposition off the scoreboard in nine consecutive quarters. The ferocious Cougar defense allowed a meager 14.6 points per game in their new digs, while the offense generated 27 points a contest while rolling up 45 points against UL Lafayette and 36 versus Tulane.
Robertson Stadium, as it is known today, was originally constructed in 1941 as a joint project of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal agency created by Franklin D.
Roosevelt's New Deal.
In 1940, HISD purchased the land now bound by Holman, Cullen, Scott and Wheeler streets and passed a resolution in March 1941, to provide $650,000 to build the stadium.
The new stadium was named Houston Public School Stadium and served as the site for all home football games for area high schools. The first game was held September 18, 1942, when Lamar High School defeated Adamson High School of Dallas 26-7 before a crowd of 14,500.
The University of Houston's inaugural football game in the stadium was against Southwestern Louisiana on September 21, 1946. The stadium was the site for every subsequent Cougar home game through 1949. In 1950, the Cougars played five home games in Public School Stadium and two others in newly constructed Rice Stadium. UH moved all of its home games to Rice Stadium beginning in 1951.
The Cougars were the first college team to play its games in a domed stadium when they moved to the brand-new Astrodome in 1965. UH played all of its home games there through 1993 before splitting time in the two stadiums over the last three seasons. All-time, Houston was 112-55-3 in the Astrodome. The Cougars' record in Robertson is 46-38-1.
The HISD School Board renamed the stadium Jeppesen Stadium in 1958. UH bought Jeppesen Stadium in 1970 and the stadium was rededicated as Robertson Stadium in 1980 to honor former UH Board of Regents member and Athletics Committee Chairman Corbin J. Robertson. Robertson Stadium underwent a $2 million facelift in 1983 when Houston hosted the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Smaller projects readied the stadium for home games in 1995 and 1996, including erecting the scoreboard, which sat in front of where Jeppesen Fieldhouse used to stand.
During the summer of 2006, Robertson became the home of the Houston Dynamo, a Major League Soccer franchise. Following the Dynamo's entry into the Houston market, UH upgraded both the playing surface and lighting system, ensuring that no portable lighting will be needed for television purposes. A new scoreboard and video replay board was also added.
On April 28, 1998 - Parker Binion writes: New AD Chet Gladchuk, who oversaw BC's stadium expansion in the early 1990s, has plans to expand Robertson Stadium at UH. UH will construct 18 luxury boxes, along with a new press box and a presidential suite in the summer of 1998, ready for the 1998 season.
After the season, the plans are to replace the track at Robertson, dig down, lower the field, and build a lower level of seats that will enclose the field. This should be ready for 1999. The capacity will increase to 33,000.
The final phases include building upper end zone seats and upper decks which would bring the capacity to 50,000.
Donation To UH Will Fund Robertson Stadium Renovations
HOUSTON - Massive renovation plans for Robertson Stadium could begin in January 1999 thanks to a $6 million gift from the John and Julie O'Quinn Foundation to the University of Houston main campus. The gift was announced today (December 14, 1998) by UH President Arthur K. Smith at a Board of Regents meeting where the donation was formally accepted.
John O'Quinn is a member of the UH System Board of Regents and a UH Law Center alumnus.
Last spring the University of Houston officially declared that the "Catnap is over" and announced plans to rejuvenate the athletics program. An obvious part of that was the hiring of Clyde "the Glide" Drexler as the UH men's basketball coach in March. Another major change announced was a face-lift for Robertson Stadium, which was built in 1941 and presently seats less than 20,000. Houston moved all of its home football games on-campus for the first time in 29 seasons last year.
Renovation plans encompass two phases, both of which will be completed using private dollars, according to UH Athletics Director Chet Gladchuk. Phase I entails the addition of 20 luxury suites, which were added last summer, and the replacement of the current track with an additional ring of tiered seating, bringing seating capacity to over 30,000. To accommodate this tiered seating, the entire playing field will be lowered 12 feet. A new track and field/soccer facility will be constructed as part of Phase I as well.
Total cost of the Phase I renovation is $10 million, including $4 million to construct the new track facility and $6 million for the stadium renovation. The University has earlier raised the funds needed for the track/soccer facility.
Bob Higley, member of the O'Quinn Foundation Board, said that the Foundation recognized the importance of this gift to the future growth of the athletics program and the University of Houston. "We are pleased that we were able to respond to this immediate need of the University and that we can participate in the rebirth of Cougar Athletics."
The O'Quinn Foundation's gift completes the Phase I stadium funding and its timing will allow the University to bring the renovation proposal to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in January. With approval from the state board, construction can begin and the renovations will be completed in time for the 1999 football season.
Gladchuk thanked John and Julie O'Quinn for their support of UH and announced that in honor of this gift, the University will name the football field within Robertson Stadium "O'Quinn Field," which will be inscribed on its surface.
"We could think of no better way to publicly thank Regent O'Quinn and his wife for their dedication to this university than to literally mark the field with their name, a constant reminder of their generous spirit and this unique gift," Gladchuk said.
"This generous contribution breathes life into the plans for renovating Robertson Stadium," President Smith commented. "We are ensuring that football games will be played on O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium for decades to come. This gift helps invigorate not only the athletics program, but the entire university." Smith added that, unquestionably, a modern, thriving athletics program communicates a positive image about the University, and enhances public perception of its students, its graduates, its faculty and its programs.
John O'Quinn is a 1967 alumnus of the UH Law Center and is one of its leading benefactors, having given $4 million in gifts to the center over the years in support of scholarships, faculty support, and most particularly the Law Library, which bears his name. He taught as an adjunct professor at the Law Center from 1968 to 1983, and currently serves on the board of the UH Law Foundation. His generosity to UH has extended also to the UH Alumni Organization, which houses the O'Quinn Great Hall, as well as to university scholarships, special events and student awards.
Named one of the nation's top 10 litigators by the National Law Journal, O'Quinn is founder of O'Quinn, Kerensky, McAninch & Laminack (now known as O'Quinn & Laminack).
He serves as a director of the Harris County Children's Protective Services Fund. He is director of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the Houston Trial Lawyers Association. He is also the founder of the John M. O'Quinn and Julie J. O'Quinn Foundation. John O'Quinn was the 1993 Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Houston and the 1996 Alumnus of the Year, selected by the University of Houston Law Alumni Association.
April 1999 Press Release The University of Houston held Groundbreaking for the new O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium on March 23. Construction on the stadium is underway with the grand opening scheduled for the UH home opener on Sept. 4, 1999 versus Rice.
Construction Underway: March 1999
Target Completion Date: August 1999
Architect: Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, Inc. (LAN)
Previous Capacity: 20,500
Projected New Capacity: Approximately 33,000
Description: Phase I of the renovation of Robertson Stadium involves replacing the track with a ring of lower tiered seating. To accommodate this new ring of field level seats, the entire playing field will be lowered nine feet. Seating will be constructed in each end zone.
Other Components: Twenty luxury suites on both sides of the stadium were added for the 1998 season. New concession stands and restrooms will be built in each end zone while interior and exterior landscaping includes sidewalks and walkways, fencing and patios. As many as 12 additional luxury suites and two elevators will be added. A new scoreboard and sound system will be installed.
Track & Field/Soccer Complex: As part of Phase I of this project, a new Track and Field/Soccer Complex is under construction behind the Athletics/Alumni Center. This $4 million facility, scheduled for completion in May of 1999, will serve as the new home of the UH men's and women's track and field and women's soccer teams.
Funding: A $6 million gift from the John and Julie O'Quinn Foundation completed funding for Phase I of the Robertson Stadium renovation plan. In recognition of this gift, UH Athletics Director Chet Gladchuk announced in December that the football field within Robertson will be named "O'Quinn Field".
John O'Quinn: Named one of the nation's top ten litigators by the National Law Journal, O'Quinn is founder of O'Quinn, Kerensky, McAninch & Laminack (now known as O'Quinn & Laminack). A 1967 alumnus of the UH Law Center, John O'Quinn is one of the school's leading benefactors,
having given $4 million in gifts to the center over the years in support of scholarships, faculty support, and the Law Library. O'Quinn taught as an adjunct professor at the Law Center from 1968 to 1983, and currently serves on the board of the UH Law Foundation. He was the 1993 Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Houston.
HOUSTON AD HAS GRANDER PLANS FOR STADIUM
April 23, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Houston, Texas - University of Houston athletic director Dave Maggard wants to substitute a
new plan for upgrades to Robertson Stadium.
Instead of simply adding an endzone expansion, he wants to upgrade the entire stadium. The
extent and cost of that renovation is still being determined.
Late last summer, the UH board of regents approved the $38 million end zone facility initiative
that was more than three years in the making. UH has $12 million in documented pledges for the
end zone proposal, and a change of plan would require the regents' support.
Robertson Stadium was built in 1941 as a joint project of the Houston Independent School
District and the Works Projects Administration. UH used the stadium for its home games from 1946
to 1949 before moving on to Rice Stadium and the Astrodome. The Cougars moved their home
games back to Robertson Stadium in 1998 - a year before the most recent renovation.
HOUSTON TO STUDY STADIUM POTENTIAL
November 5, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Houston, Texas - The University of Houston is seeking firms to do a feasibility study on a new
stadium and has set Nov. 23 as the deadline for a request for qualifications.
The school wants a review of six plans for Robertson Stadium along with two other proposals for
improvements to Hofheinz Pavilion.
Athletic Director Mack Rhoades said the study is a necessary step before deciding how to
proceed with upgrading the facilities of the Cougars' most high-profile sports.
Two of the options involve renovating Robertson. Three involve building a new football stadium
on three different sites. One proposal is joint football-basketball venture. Two entail upgrades to Hofheinz, which opened in 1969.
The scope of the proposed projects would go well above and beyond the $38 million end zone
facility plan that the UH board of regents approved in 2008. The university secured some $10- $14
million in verbal commitments to contribute toward the end zone plan.
The study will include an evaluation of a 2006 analysis of the UH facilities. UH is also asking
for conceptual designs, cost estimates, traffic analyses, marketing studies and fund-raising
prospectuses. According to the RFQ posting, UH plans to review the proposals and select up to five
firms for interviews. Rhoades estimated the cost of the feasibility study to be "in the low six
A tentative timetable calls for interviews with firms to begin as early as Dec. 11, with contract
negotiations to be completed one week later. If UH keeps to that timetable, it would be in position
to issue a notification to proceed with the study as soon as Jan. 8, 2010.
HOUSTON TO STUDY FACILITIES NEEDS
February 11, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Houston, Texas - AECOM, the company that recently acquired architectural firm Ellerbe
Becket, has been hired by the University of Houston athletic department to study six plans for upgrades to Robertson Stadium and two plans to improve Hofheinz Pavilion.
UH officials are scheduled to meet with AECOM next week to launch the study, which the school expects to take 90-120 days. The cost of this step is approximately $300,000.
Three of the stadium options involve building a new football stadium on three different sites. One proposal is joint football-basketball venture. Two entail upgrades to Hofheinz, which opened in 1969.
The scope of the proposed projects would go well above and beyond the $38 million end zone facility plan that the UH board of regents approved in 2008. The university secured some $10- $14 million in verbal commitments to contribute toward the end zone plan.
The study will include an evaluation of a 2006 analysis of the UH facilities. UH is also asking for conceptual designs, cost estimates, traffic analyses, marketing studies and fund-raising prospectuses.
HOUSTON TO REPLACE STADIUM, RENOVATE ARENA
June 17, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Houston, Texas - The University of Houston is making plans to replace Robertson Stadium and
upgrade Hofheinz Pavilion.
The $160 million football stadium, which would be built at the existing Robertson site, would
seat 40,000 and be expandable to 50,000-plus. The $40 million basketball facility renovation would include the addition of practice facilities for the men's and women's teams and feature a seating capacity of 8,593.
"Clearly, it's a vision," UH athletic director Mack Rhoades said. "But we're committed to making it happen."
The vision is the result of a nearly four-month feasibility study conducted by architectural firm AECOM. The study, which is not entirely complete, is approximately 500 pages and cost approximately $250,000. The UH plan comes to light in the midst of radical re-alignment that has changed the face of the Big 12, Pac 10 and Big Ten Conferences. UH, which played in four Cotton Bowls and reached three Final Fours while it was in the Southwest Conference, has been in Conference USA since 1996.
"The projects are critical, period, whether we're talking about conference re-alignment or not," Rhoades said. "We've really been focused on making ourselves better, making us a program that can compete on a national level. That's where we're headed."
A completion date of the projects, which also have the blessing of UH chancellor and president Renu Khator, is uncertain. Rhoades said the school would spend the next 12 months raising the money to finance the construction. The projected construction time for the football stadium would be 18 months, though Rhoades said it is possible to complete the project without missing a season. That would allow the MLS Dynamo to play out its next two seasons at Robertson while awaiting the completion of its new soccer stadium.
Reports said UH has had preliminary discussions with the Texans about using Reliant Stadium as a temporary home for the football team if necessary.
The master plan for the football stadium calls for 650 club seats, 200 loge box seats and 22 luxury suits. The east side of the stadium would have a complex housing a UH Hall of Fame, locker room and came facilities and academic and meeting spaces. Another of the features of the new stadium, which costs $13 more than a renovation of Robertson would have, is retaining the view of what Rhoades calls "one of the most dynamic skylines in the country."
Because of the generous spacing inside of Hofheinz, UH opted to renovate the building for $30 million less than the cost of a new building and have two practice courts, office suites for the men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball programs, a sports performance center, sports medicine clinic and team academic/film rooms.
A major component of the funding would be naming rights. The school projects a possible $30 million in naming rights for the football stadium, with another possible $55 million coming from ancillary naming rights. The school's projections call for $15 million in naming rights for the basketball arena and another $15 million in ancillary naming rights.
HOUSTON GETS APPROVAL FOR NEW STADIUM
March 29, 2012
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Houston, Texas - The University of Houston Board of Regents finalized the location of the
Cougars' new football facility, approving the current Robertson Stadium site to serve as the future stadium location when the Cougars break ground in December.
"I'm very excited, very thrilled," UH chancellor and president Renu Khator told the Houston Chronicle. "We have the green light now, and we can go and build the stadium. It's another step in making sure that our athletics program is suited for a Tier One university."
Over the last month, UH studied the feasibility of what it would take to place the stadium at another site and found an increased price tag of roughly $40 million, an increased difficulty in expanding the stadium to the eventual goal of 60,000 seats, and a longer timeline for completion. The visibility of the stadium would be greatly enhanced at that location, but the board decided that didn't outweigh the other drawbacks.
Keeping the stadium at the current site means there will be consistency in walking distance for students, areas for tailgaters, and a good way to utilize the new parking garage that is nearing completion next to Robertson, the newspaper said.
The Cougars will play one final season at Robertson this fall before demolishing the stadium and beginning construction in December. Construction is projected to take 18-20 months, with completion targeted in the summer of 2014. With no final decisions being made regarding the 2013 season, Reliant Stadium remains an option as a temporary home.