New UH Football Stadium Quickly Taking Shape
by: Jack Williams, July 15, 2013 5:07:00 am
"I'm Matt Doffing, project manager with Manhattan Construction. We're walking out onto the new football stadium job site."
Doffing is wearing a bright orange vest and a hardhat as he walks past concrete pillars and rebar.
"We're about the walk down into the current lower bowl. We'll see the staging of the structural steel to create the primary building frame, the skeleton."
That skeleton will become a lot more obvious starting this week. The project is about a third finished, with a lot of the groundwork already done.
"Here in the next few weeks there's going to be such a dramatic change in what you're seeing. We've been in the ground, foundation work, players tunnel, the vehicle tunnel and all those things that you can't really see from the surface. A lot of work has been put into place already, but once we start going elevated it really takes shape and it's exciting to watch."
On any given day, there are about 200 workers at the dusty construction site exactly where Robertson Stadium used to stand. Doffing was part of the Reliant Stadium construction more than a decade ago and just finished work on the Dyanamo's new downtown stadium. He says stadiums these days are all about the fans.
"The thing that I've seen in the past few stadiums that I've been involved with is that there's such a focus on the front end of design about the fan experience, and that's where it centers. It starts there and rest of it just molds itself."
Doffing says when the stadium is complete in August of 2014, fans will notice a playing surface well below ground level and a huge lower bowl.
"The entire premium seating section is on the south side, suites, press box, club and so it has a tremendous view. The northwest corner is open for the view of downtown. So you just have an open concourse there and the lower seating bowl is actually about half the capacity, so you have 20,000 seats in the lower bowl."
The stadium is being built with future expansion in mind. It could easily be built-out to seat 60,000 fans.