Last week work was started at Rice University on The Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center. Located in the north end zone of Rice Stadium, the facility will replace a large section of tarped-over seats and the current scoreboard. At a cost of $60 million, the facility will house the football team weight room, the football team locker room, meeting rooms, staff offices, and the training and sports performance offices. There will also be a new scoreboard on top of the building. It will be open to all of Rice's student athletes.
The new end-zone facility should be ready in time for the 2016 Rice football season. It'll fit right in with the new tennis courts, the renovated Tudor Fieldhouse and Reckling Park, the outstanding stadium that houses the baseball team. This is a much-needed upgrade for the Owls and something that has long been sought by the football team. But Rice isn't done. As construction was starting, Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard pledged that this was only the start to the renovations at Rice Stadium.
I have spent a lot of time at Rice Stadium over the past five or six years. And as a native Houstonian, I spent a lot of time at the place even before I started covering the team. I've seen a lot of bad football, but I always liked going to Rice Stadium. The press box has the best views of Houston anyplace in the city -- you look directly out to the Medical Center skyline, and a glance to the left gives a great view of downtown Houston and the large swath of green that comes from Hermann Park and from West University -- and since the stadium was built just to host football, there are great sight lines to the action no matter where the seat is.