New football facility proposed for Rice



Rice University this week unveiled a proposal for a new two-story football facility at the south end of Rice Stadium that will house training and locker rooms, a sports medicine center and the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. The proposal is contingent on approval by the Rice Board of Trustees and fundraising to pay for the project.

“The new facility, plus other renovations to the south end zone, will make much-needed enhancements to this historic stadium, enhance the experience of our Owls fans, and most importantly, improve the football experience for our student-athletes,” President David Leebron said. “We are hopeful that people who love and support Rice’s wonderful football legacy — a legacy of high standards on the field of play and in the classroom — will help make these critical investments in the future of Rice football.”

The structures now at the stadium’s south end, including the R Room that currently houses the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame, will be demolished. The proposed 80,000-square-foot facility will house offices for the coaching staff and support personnel, and a room for news conferences and other functions that now take place in the R Room.

“Rice Stadium is a beautiful and storied facility, but it is showing the wear and tear of its 61 years of age,” Rice Athletics Director Rick Greenspan said. “Replacing the training and other facilities on the stadium’s southern vista will go a long way toward restoring its luster and giving Rice football players and fans the kind of quality experience they expect from this university.”

A pre-design study was conducted last summer. University and Athletics Department officials worked with consultants from AECOM to evaluate the stadium’s facilities and made site visits to peer institutions. The next step will be to develop design and cost options.

“Rice is perfectly positioned with one of the most beautiful and historic stadiums in the country,” Rice trustee, alumnus and former varsity football player Bucky Allshouse ‘71 said. “The end-zone facility renovation will help carry on that wonderful tradition for Owls players and fans as we enter the university’s second century.”

Previous upgrades to the stadium have included a new playing surface, a new video board and scoreboard, and aluminum benches to replace the wooden bleachers.

Rice Stadium opened in 1950 and has been the site of many historic events for Rice, the city of Houston and the country. In Rice Stadium on Sept. 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy issued his historic challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. The stadium has served as the home base for the Bluebonnet Bowl, the University of Houston, Texas Southern University and the NFL’s Houston Oilers. On Jan. 13, 1974, it housed Super Bowl VIII, in which the Miami Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24-7. Rice Stadium is one of only three existing on-campus facilities where a Super Bowl has been held. More than 10 million fans have watched Rice Owls football in Rice Stadium over the years.

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