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New Development on the University of Houston Campus

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University Breaks Ground on $3M Arts Center

By Jennifer D. Duell

HOUSTON-Cultural art lovers today will celebrate the groundbreaking of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, a $3-million undertaking tied into the $4.5-million expansion and renovation of the Wortham Theater Complex.

An official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today in the Fine Arts Quadrangle at entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard. The center, which will be housed in the Wortham Theater Complex, will include exterior and interior work to enhance the lobby space of the existing facility, provide office area for the Mitchell Center and add new rehearsal space.

"It will be a nice addition to the campus," says John Dennis, project manager for Dallas-based Cadence McShane Corp., which is in charge of the expansion and renovation. San Antonio, TX-based Lake/Flato Architects Inc. is providing architectural services for the center's demolition, renovation and construction.

Dennis tells GlobeSt.com that the project will take about nine months to finish and will require 35 to 50 construction professionals to complete. Cadence McShane will initially demolish the interior of the existing performing arts center and reconstruct 15,000 sf on two floors. The area will house classrooms plus ballet practice and rehearsal rooms.

"There's a lot of wood paneling, acoustical plasters, stainless steel window frames, metal panels and cut stone," Dennis describes. "[The renovations] really complement the existing building."

While the theater itself will retain the name Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre, the building as a whole will be renamed to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. The project was funded primarily by a $20-million gift from George and Cynthia Mitchell, along with a grant from the Wortham Foundation and Allen Becker.

The center will create a collaborative alliance of the university's premier academic and arts departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The alliance weds the art department, Blaffer Gallery, creative writing program, Moores School of Music and the theater school.

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God love the Mitchells! U of H is a wonderful university and it's fantastic to see this level of generosity from a "local boy done good" going to a local university. :)

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Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell!

The University of Houston is a wonderful University. They do not get the state funding than A& M and UT do. However, they do great with what they have. We should all lobby or legislators and other legislators in the state to increase their funding. They need to be a first tear (sp?) research University! There is room for at least 6 of these in our state. This would bring brains and bucks $ to Houston.

The Art department can use all the friends it can get! You can't get a patent on a painting, nor will most graduates go on to earn $$$$$$$. So, if there is anyone out there who wants to send a donation to The Fine Art Department at the University of Houston,...Do it. Creative people challenge all of us to think and create within our own chosen fields of work and our every day life. IMHO artists have always been the backbone of civilation. They just need more support in America! And yes, I give when I can.

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LOL, everything in Houston is named after some rich oil dude/dudette!

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I am not sure if the topic has been covered. However the once proposed Olympic Village that would have housed the Olympic atheletes would have benefited UH in the long run. This village would have encompassed everything to the east of Scott Street, North of Elgin, West of Cullen and South of I-45. Houston's Olympic bid was later rejected. Those houses or apartments would likely have become student houses afterwards. This would have had the potential to make UH a less commuter school and giving the students a on-campus living experience.

I just think that UH missed out on a huge opportunity. What I would like to know is, what is the likelihood that that sort of development could still happen for UH. Obviously for this to happen would be a huge financial price tag.

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Thanks for the link, glad to know UH is thinking about beautifying the campus. Honestly I was looking for a quantitative expansion instead of a qualitative expansion. With adjacent properties available to UH like the aformentioned proposed Olympic village and the pending sale of the macgregor park spur 5 land. I wanted to see if those were possibilities in the future.

Thanks a bunch again for the links.

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UH just approved (last week?) a new $99 million dorm/academic/retail building. Going from memory here, but I believe it will be 500,000 sf, include 700 rooms (or was it 700 beds?), several lecture halls, and retail components. It will be graduate student housing, and will be built near the Law School and Bauer College of Bidness. If I understand correctly, it will be built on the site of the existing "Y" building (which is the old WWII-era engineering lab "barn" between the Engineering, Law and Bidness buildings.

The construction was to begin in summer 2007 and be complete in 2009.

This is the first phase of the Master Plan that will double the existing square footage of UH's current infrastructure. The Master Plan will also double the existing on-campus housing, up to 11,000 residents, and allow UH to increase its enrollment to 45,000 (from the existing 35,000).

Other parts of the Master Plan that I remember are that Cullen and Holman will be closed to vehicular traffic. Light rail and a new road will come through the parking lots next to Robertson Stadium (parallel to Holman). The strip along the light rail and new road will be lined with mixed use retail/residential and will be the heart of campus life.

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UH just approved (last week?) a new $99 million dorm/academic/retail building. Going from memory here, but I believe it will be 500,000 sf, include 700 rooms (or was it 700 beds?), several lecture halls, and retail components. It will be graduate student housing, and will be built near the Law School and Bauer College of Bidness. If I understand correctly, it will be built on the site of the existing "Y" building (which is the old WWII-era engineering lab "barn" between the Engineering, Law and Bidness buildings.

The construction was to begin in summer 2007 and be complete in 2009.

This is the first phase of the Master Plan that will double the existing square footage of UH's current infrastructure. The Master Plan will also double the existing on-campus housing, up to 11,000 residents, and allow UH to increase its enrollment to 45,000 (from the existing 35,000).

Other parts of the Master Plan that I remember are that Cullen and Holman will be closed to vehicular traffic. Light rail and a new road will come through the parking lots next to Robertson Stadium (parallel to Holman). The strip along the light rail and new road will be lined with mixed use retail/residential and will be the heart of campus life.

Your memory was very accurate, I was reading about what is going on. UofH is a very exciting place right now.

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Other parts of the Master Plan that I remember are that Cullen and Holman will be closed to vehicular traffic. Light rail and a new road will come through the parking lots next to Robertson Stadium (parallel to Holman). The strip along the light rail and new road will be lined with mixed use retail/residential and will be the heart of campus life.

Yes I was reading that as well. but this "new road" is this Wheeler ave or an extended Cleburne St. I know I am asking a lot at this time but I am excited about the expansion. Also I see the Metro has approved the Light Rail (BRT) to go along the Wheeler street onto MLK route. I wonder if Metro will change its plans on the Bus option and make it Rail instead. It will do wonders for the university.

Why is everyone hush hush about the MacGregor Parcel of land?

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MacGregor Parcel of land?

I heard it was still in court. The family donated to the city, the city didn't use it, they wanted it back to give it to UH, yada, yada, yada.

But most of the new development near UH will be at University Drive/Spur 5.

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Here is the link

UH Masterplan

The little house looking building next to the shack is where i usually spend my time studying and they are going to tear it down.....it is so cozy and comfortable, i am going to miss it, but it is for the better

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I wonder what affect or effect will this have on Texas Southern univ?

I hope this has a positive effect on TSU! TSU has a reputation as a commuter school as well. TSU is expeirencing expansion as well, with all the new contruction on campus. But I am not sure where else the University can expand its boundaries. Plus, right now TSU has a real bad problem with its leadership either fairly or unfairly added to that is the possibility of take over. At one time I think I heard a rumor of A&M taking over the institution but I am not sure. If the take over was to happen I would hope UH would be the institution of choice. Sort of like Atlanta-Clarke Univerisity in Atlanta, Ga. TSU-H could be the name of the institution. Just brainstorming, not hoping this would happen, but I would not like TSU affiliated with UT or A&M due to its proximity to UH. But the college age cummunity (utopia) would also involve and encompass TSU.

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I hope the MacGregor property becomes student housing. It would be absolutely awesome to have a huge block of just students.

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They are rerouting all bus routes off of cullen between wheeler and holman on Jan. 27. I wonder if they will close cullen sometime early next year?

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They are rerouting all bus routes off of cullen between wheeler and holman on Jan. 27. I wonder if they will close cullen sometime early next year?

Well according to the plans closing cullen between wheeler and holman is part of phase 1. I think Phase 2 will include closing all of cullen to auto traffic. But I am not completely sure. But the closing is encouraging and if they can expedite the complete closure it would be fantastic. lets get it going!

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UH wants to be a residential univeristy but they are building all the new "dorms" way off campus. Build them within campus! UH is experiencing urban sprawl. It would be great to just walk to class with 15 minutes instead of taking a shuttle.

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UH wants to be a residential univeristy but they are building all the new "dorms" way off campus. Build them within campus! UH is experiencing urban sprawl. It would be great to just walk to class with 15 minutes instead of taking a shuttle.

They're not exactly "way off campus". The latest dorms were built on Calhoun at MacGregor, just one block away from the Towers.

Before that were the Cullen Oaks and Cambridge Oaks on Cullen between Wheeler and MacGregor, just one block (or less) away from the Quadrangle dorms.

When I was at UH, I always parked over by the Quadrangle (because I had friends on campus who lived in the Quad and at Cambridge Oaks, and because it was near impossible to find a parking spot near the Engineering/Architecture/Music buildings)...but walked across campus to the Engineering Buildings. It's about a half-mile walk, and it never took more than 10-15 minutes. I never once took a shuttle in my 5 years at UH. I doubt they could have been any faster than walking, when you include the wait for the shuttle.

The new dorms will be built "in campus", between the Engineering, Business and Law buildings. I think UH's "sprawl" has reached its peak...there's no more room to grow out. From here on out, the campus will be filled in (mainly in existing parking lots), and parking garages will be necessary.

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I agree they need to build closer to campus. Especially that lot on Cullen across from Cougar Place next to the Quads. It is a compact site but I think it would work. They have some nice trees on that lot though.

Edited by WesternGulf

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Cambridge Oaks south boundary may physically be one block from the quads but its still really far. You're talking in terms of human scale not car scale. I believe the entrance to Cambridg Oaks is actually more like 3 blocks away with most of the apartments behind it. And it doesn't feel like part of the campus because its a closed off gated apartment complex! Doesn't exactly endear the residents to the campus.

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I never once took a shuttle in my 5 years at UH.

Me either. I did like you. 15 minute walk. I parked across Elgin becuase all my classes were prime time.

I had one really early class when I could park near the Towers.

Heck, I had to park near the Wellness Center for the C-USA Championship game. Again, 15 minutes max.

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Me either. I did like you. 15 minute walk. I parked across Elgin becuase all my classes were prime time.

I had one really early class when I could park near the Towers.

Heck, I had to park near the Wellness Center for the C-USA Championship game. Again, 15 minutes max.

Walking is ok unless it rains... :closedeyes:

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