University of Texas officials announced Thursday that global architecture firm Populous will handle the design and construction of the $175-million south end zone expansion of Royal-Memorial Stadium.
The Kansas City-based company is well established in the field of stadium construction projects. Populous oversaw the south end zone expansion at Oklahoma as well as projects at Kansas State, Arkansas and Colorado.
Construction will begin in the summer of 2019 with the expected completion by the 2021 season.
“They did a lot of projects and they’re obviously one of the best in the country, and their work speaks for itself,” UT athletic director Chris Del Conte told the Statesman on Thursday. “What our vision is for our project, we want to have the best facility and work with the best.”
Plans for the completion of the south end zone will create an entire seating bowl for the first time in the stadium’s 95-year history. The corners will be filled in with what UT calls “concessions-equipped terraces.”
A Longhorn-shaped balcony will be carved into the balcony, so it can be seen from the air. Another UT logo will be carved into the south end zone seats. Populous also will oversee a complete redesign of the football complex, too.
“When we’re all done, we will be the standard for people to say, ‘Wow, have you seen the University of Texas,’” Del Conte said.
School officials have said there will be no net increase in seating capacity. The expansion will include a field-level club, similar to the one at AT&T Stadium, and a permanent location for the Longhorn Network’s gameday broadcasts.
A record crowd of 103,507 was packed into the stadium for last Saturday’s win over USC.
“The modern game day experience is about quality, not quantity,” Populous project manager Sherri Privitera said in a statement. “This is a game-changing project. From fully enclosing the stadium for a more intimate atmosphere to the impactful in-seat Longhorn logo, it is the ultimate celebration of the University of Texas.”
Del Conte is responsible for raising $125 million out of the $175 million total. He’s already raised $85 million. Eight families have agreed to donate $10 million each for the four suites that will be built on both sides of the new video board.
The project will have 94 loge suites and 780 club seats. Del Conte said he’s already sold 12 loge suites, although the school is not ready to unveil all of the accoutrements yet. Typically, loge suites have larger, padded seats along with personal televisions and wait staff service.
“Just tweet at me,” he said. “I’ll be happy to sell you one.”
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