The Fertitta Center, formerly Hofheinz Pavilion, began renovations in 2017 and finished in late 2018, bringing a new breath of life into the arena with very impressive updates.
Overseeing the renovation was Senior Project Manager Jerry Mizell, who’s been with Facilities for over 3 years now. “The project didn’t come without its challenges,” said Mizell. One of the first hurdles that had to be overcome was the fact that Hofheinz Pavilion was nearly 50 years old, (opening in 1969). With little having been updated since its opening, there was a lot of work to be done. There was a tremendous amount of asbestos in the building, so much so that 12% of the project budget was dedicated solely to the removal of the remaining asbestos throughout the building. The asbestos was removed in fourths at a time, with everything having to be removed, from seats to the floorboards. Another inconvenience to the project was 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. Harvey hit towards the beginning of the renovation, leaving Hofheinz with up to 8ft of water that had to be pumped out so that the project could continue. Even with these hurdles, the biggest challenge became time. Remaining on the schedule was crucial to this project and to Mizell, as the inaugural game for the UH Men’s Basketball season was scheduled for December 1st, 2018.”So impressive that the Fertitta Center was awarded a Houston Business Journal’s Annual Landmark Award. The Houston Business Journal awards recognition to nominated Houston Area projects. Projects are submitted to 16 different categories, and a committee then votes for each category. Fertitta was nominated under “public assembly building” where the projects are considered based on aesthetics, design and quality of the project. Fertitta Center made it into the final round of consideration with two other finalists, but Fertitta ultimately came out on top and took home the win.
Thankfully, the project was finished on schedule, on budget and with no injuries. This is directly on par with Mizell’s philosophy when it comes to working on these types of projects. “A safe job is one that finishes on schedule, on budget, and with no injuries. You can see the quality of a project when it following these steps”, Mizell said.
On winning the Houston Business Journal award Mizell said “Receiving the award was such a rewarding experience, not only for myself but for the team as a whole”. Not only was the project rewarding for Mizell and his team, but for anyone that has stepped into Ferttita Center since its renovation, who would say that the project was a success as well. Mizell has a few projects on his roster that includes, the opening of the Science and Technology building at University of Houston - Downtown, Garage 6 here on campus, renovations at Melcher Garrison and even the new Law Center.
We want to thank everyone involved in the process of the Fertitta Center’s renovation that has led to major recognition, not only here at UH, but throughout the city of Houston.