Published Sep 08, 2023 by Hailea Schultz
In honor of its upcoming centennial in 2027, the University of Houston has unveiled plans for a $35 million transformative campus revamp that includes the creation of Centennial Plaza, a multi-purpose gathering space at the heart of the campus.
Leading the celebratory project, Houston-based firm OJB has already begun the design work with the goal of enhancing the student experience and ultimately creating a strong first impression of the university.
“The University of Houston is a crucial part of the fourth largest city in the country, and having a welcoming campus that everyone can be proud of is paramount. This reimagination will create a sense of place, community and learning, while also promoting health and well-being not only for our students, but for all Houstonians,” University of Houston President Renu Khator says in a press release.
The university’s main entrance on University Drive is also getting a makeover with the addition of a new gateway monument at Spur 5, a shaded central pathway lined with beautiful colossal trees from the gateway to Cullen Performance Hall and outdoor spaces filled with public art and dining options, creating a more welcoming experience to everyone entering the campus.
“So much of the student and campus experience is found in the spaces in between buildings: its landscape and open spaces,” said Chip Trageser, partner in charge for OJB in the same press release. “Creating inclusive spaces for people to come together is at the core of innovation. The Centennial Plan strengthens these experiences, not only from a physical point of view, but also as an expression of the University of Houston’s values and mission.”
Additionally, Lynn Eusan Park, Cougar Woods, Butler Plaza and the campus woodland from the Science and Research 1 building to the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design will also see landscaping improvements that will beautify the campus.
Construction for the Centennial project will begin next summer and is set to be completed by the end of 2026, ahead of its 100th birthday celebrations.
UH also announced a new 70,000-square-foot, high-tech Innovation Hub earlier this year that will serve as a center for academic and industry innovators to convene and advance research, commercialization, and education. The $52 million hub will also house the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, the Energy Transition Institute, Presidential Frontier Faculty labs and offices, and a makerspace.
In tandem with its campus transformation, the University of Houston is poised to ascend to national recognition thanks to Governor Greg Abbott's signing of the Texas University Fund—a nearly $4 billion endowment to undergo public approval this November.
This investment not only reaffirms the state's dedication to advancing higher education but also ushers in a promising era for both UH and the broader Texas educational landscape, offering an exceptional opportunity to enhance its mission of academic excellence, pioneering research, and community engagement.
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