Bearkat Athletics to redefine venue experience



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Elliott T. Bowers Stadium Image: Sam Houston Athletics

The Sam Houston State University in Hunstville, Texas (US) has confirmed a contract agreement with the design firm Page Southerland Page, Inc. in collaboration with the architecture firm DLR Group for the West side revitalization of the Elliott T. Bowers Stadium in Huntsville.

‘gobearkats.com’ stated that this endeavor marks a significant milestone for the Bearkat Athletics (the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent the Sam Houston State University) as the program embarks on a journey to redefine the stadium experience.

The Sam Houston State University is a public research university in Huntsville, Texas (US). Founded in 1879, it is the third-oldest public college or university in Texas. It is one of the first normal schools West of the Mississippi River and the first in Texas.

Washington, D.C. (US)-based the Page Southerland Page, Inc. is a multidisciplinary architecture, engineering and design firm with offices in the United States and abroad. The Page Southerland Page, Inc.’s core values are creativity, collaboration and commitment. The firm’s mission statement is to influence how design merit is perceived and defined and to help shift the global focus of design toward making a difference in the way people live.

Kansas City (US)-based the DLR Group is an integrated design firm delivering architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, and building optimization for new construction, renovation and adaptive reuse. The firm’s promise is to elevate the human experience through design. This promise inspires sustainable design for a diverse group of public and private sector clients, the local communities and the planet.

Bob Carlson, Sports Design Leader, Principal, DLR Group, US, will be a part of the Sports Architecture Panel to feature heavyweight sports architects on June 5th as part of the Coliseum Summit US to be held at the GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, from June 5th-6th, 2024.

The Elliott T. Bowers Stadium is a 14,000-seat multipurpose stadium in Huntsville, Texas. The stadium has been home to the Sam Houston State University Bearkats football since 1986. Previously, the team played their homes games at the 2,100-capacity Joseph Pritchett Field in Huntsville, which currently plays host to the university’s women soccer team – the Bearkats.

The Sam Houston Bearkats football program is the intercollegiate American football team for the Sam Houston State University located in the US State of Texas. The team competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) as a member of the Conference USA. Sam Houston’s first football team was fielded in 1912.

Indianapolis (US)-based the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student athletics among about 1,100 schools in the United States and one in Canada. It also organizes the athletic programs of the colleges and helps over 500,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports.

The NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as the Division I-A, is the highest level of college football in the United States. The FBS consists of the largest schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. As of the 2024 season, there are 10 Conferences and 134 schools in FBS.
Dallas, Texas-based the Conference USA is an intercollegiate athletic Conference whose member-institutions are located within the Southern United States and Western United States. The Conference participates in the NCAA’s Division I in all sports.

‘gobearkats.com’ further stated that the cornerstone of the project involves the complete overhaul of the stadium’s Press box for the West side revitalization, presenting a fresh and innovative vision for the space. The new structure will span approximately 47,000 gross square feet, boasting an additional 13,000 square feet of covered exterior space, culminating in a total of approximately 60,000 square feet.

Within this modern facility, the patrons can anticipate a host of enhancements, including updated concessions and restrooms, premium seating options and suites with access to outdoor balcony seating. Additionally, a state-of-the-art media center will be integrated, elevating the gameday coverage across television, radio and print platforms.

The Bearkat Athletics Director Bobby Williams believes the much-anticipated upgrade offers opportunities to bolster their commitment to the student-athletes, the Conference USA competition and the fans.

Added Williams, “This project represents the Sam Houston State University’s focus on excellence and student success, ensuring that our stadium and our players are at the forefront of collegiate athletics. We look forward to ushering in a new era of sporting excellence and fan engagement.”

The stadium upgrade will be financed through a combination of bonds and the contributions of donors, ensuring the realization of this ambitious $60 million endeavor. Like many transformative projects, the Vice-President of the University Advancement Matthew Bethea envisions the Bearkat community uniting to shape the future through their support – “We are so thankful for our benefactors and because of their thoughtfulness and generosity we are changing the lives of our students. Our alumni are very passionate about the Sam Houston State University and since our transition to Conference USA, we are actively working to improve and transform our athletic facilities while creating a more dynamic experience for the Bearkat fans.”

The design documents are slated for submission to the Texas State University System Board of Regents for approval in August 2024. Construction is scheduled to commence by the end of the year, with a targeted completion date preceding the 2026 football season. Efforts are underway to host all home games for the 2025 season at the Bowers Stadium.

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