Rice holds ceremonial groundbreaking for new Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center

Rice University held a ceremonial groundbreaking March 10 for the $31.5 million, 60,000-square-foot Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center.

“This is really a great day for Rice,” said Rice President David Leebron. “This investment is what we do at Rice. The facility is about our players. It is for our players. The first investment (renovation) that we chose to make here in the football stadium was improving the opportunities, care and experience of our players.”

“From the board of trustees’ perspective, we are just very, very proud of the role that Athletics plays in the life of Rice, what it brings to our campus, what it brings to our student body and what it brings to our alumni group,” said Bobby Tudor, chairman of the board. “We have never been in a better spot in many ways than we are today with regard to the contributions that Rice athletes and Athletics are making to our campus and to our future.”

“This investment is what we do at Rice. The facility is about our players. It is for our players,” Leebron said.

The two-story structure will house a weight room, a home-team locker room, coaching and staff offices, an auditorium that will seat 150 people, a football team lounge and areas for training and sports medicine that include hydrotherapy, plunge pools and exam rooms. The weight room and sports medicine areas will be available to student-athletes from all sports at Rice.

“These guys have been deserving it for a long time, and we think it’s going to do a lot for Rice Athletics and I’m excited about it,” said benefactor and former Rice Owls football player Brian Patterson. “This is what everyone wants to do: You want to have enough luck and success to give it back. This is an opportunity for me to thank all the folks who made today possible.”

“We are in the midst of a new vision for Athletics at Rice University,” said Joe Karlgaard, director of Athletics. “The vision is based on four pillars: Athletic competitiveness, academic success, life education and Rice values. The establishment of the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center touches each of these pillars by supporting the athletic and academic self-actualization of our student-athletes. I’d like to thank Brian Patterson and the 50 donors who made today possible.”

The Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center will have a glass wall on the side facing the football field that offers a view of the weight rooms on the ground and second floors. The other three sides will be made of brick that complements the color of the brick on the rest of the stadium. White columns supporting the roof will be similar to the columns in other parts of the stadium. A concrete ramp will provide access to the football field.

“It’s incredible what we can do when we come together,” said head football coach David Bailiff. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for getting involved in this project. This center will give these student-athletes a home they can be proud of when they come over here to work on their skills, where they can perform even better. It’s amazing what this is going to do for us. This facility is already paying dividends in our recruiting. I can’t thank David Leebron, the board of trustees, Joe Karlgaard and Brian Patterson enough today.”

The previously tarp-covered concrete area by the north end zone will be torn down to make room for the building. Part of the $31.5 million cost includes a $500,000 project to relocate electrical switchgear in that area; storm and sewer lines will be rerouted.

A live construction camera is now available. To monitor progress of the project, click here.

The project should be completed in time for the 2016 football season.

About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.