HOUSTON -- The Rice University Board of Trustees has approved a proposal to build a student-athlete performance and development building in the north end of Rice Stadium that will provide new all-sport strength-and-conditioning, sports medicine and football facilities for the Rice Owls.
The $31.5 million project includes a 60,000-square-foot, two-story structure that will house a weight room, a home team locker room, coaching and staff offices, an auditorium, 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.
"While this new addition to Rice Stadium will improve aspects of the fan experience, it is first and foremost, as it should be, an investment for the benefit of our extraordinary student-athletes," Rice President David Leebron said. "We are committed to the success of our students on the field, off the field and in their professional lives. Over the last several years we have invested in the facilities for many of our sports teams -- basketball, volleyball, swimming and tennis. This investment in football comes at a historic moment as our team heads to Hawaii for Rice's first-ever third consecutive bowl game. We are grateful to Brian Patterson and many others who have made this exciting new facility possible."
Rice alumnus Brian Patterson provided the naming gift for the facility.
"We're very grateful to Brian for his generosity," said Rice Athletics Director Joe Karlgaard. "His naming gift, along with a substantial anonymous gift and additional support from other Rice lettermen and football fans, played an important role in the board's approval to move ahead with the project. I am so thrilled for our student-athletes and coaches. We are committed to playing college football at the highest level within the amateur model, and we believe this will be the first in a series of upgrades to our stadium."
When asked what motivated him to make the gift, Patterson recalled his experience at Rice. "In 1980, Carlos Maynard, a Rice football coach, asked me to walk on and promised a full scholarship if I played well," Patterson said. "Two weeks into three-a-days, head coach Ray Alborn pulled me into his office and told me that they would not only give me a full scholarship, but they would also return my tuition for the first semester, which I had spent nearly my last nickel paying. I could hardly believe it. That kind of integrity permeates everything in and around Rice University. This new all-sports facility was an opportunity to repay a huge debt of gratitude to this great university, and I wanted to do it for coach David Bailiff and the players."
Patterson joined the Rice football program from Fort Worth Paschal High School in 1980 and graduated in 1984. A three-year letterman, he twice led the Owls in interceptions, and his nine career interceptions are tied for seventh best in school history. In 1983 he was named to the Academic All-America Division I football team by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
When Karlgaard presented his new vision for Rice Athletics earlier this year, he noted that the football program is filled with opportunities. "This capital project moves us significantly forward in a number of key areas," he said.
He said the new facility will help with the recruitment of exceptional student-athletes as Rice strives for conference championships and top-25 rankings. "David Bailiff can show our prospects modern training facilities and locker rooms alongside our outstanding classrooms, laboratories and residential colleges," Karlgaard said. "Our facilities, coaches, faculty and student body combine to create an unmatched experience here at Rice."
The new building 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.
The 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.
The goal is to have the building completed in time for the 2016 football season. Donors have pledged all of the funding, which will allow construction on the stadium to begin in early 2015.
The architect for the project is HKS, which built the Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the Colts stadium in Indianapolis. Anslow Bryant is the general contractor.
# # #
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just over 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked among some of the top schools for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and for best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to