Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

September 22, 2006

Contact: Contact: Mike Emery
713.743.8186 (office)
713.415.6551 (pager)

New Facility Combines Parking Garage, Enrollment Services
to Enhance Convenience for Students, Visitors

HOUSTON, Sept. 22, 2006 – New students arriving at a university are usually scrambling to find out where to park, where to register or how to pay for classes. Thanks to the University of Houston’s new Welcome Center, answers to these and a host of other questions can be found just minutes after arriving to campus.

UH’s Welcome Center, at Entrance 1 – Calhoun Road and University Drive – across from the Hilton University of Houston Hotel, offers the campus community and visitors a new point of entry to the university and easy access to several administrative offices that are frequently visited by students. The center, which opens on Monday, Sept. 25, combines a four-story, 1,500 car parking garage with Enrollment Services and a visitors’ center.

New, current or prospective students can park in the garage and immediately stroll to first-floor Enrollment Services, which include the registrar, freshman and transfer admissions, financial aid, financial services and academic advising.

To learn more about the university, its colleges and the campus, they need only walk a few more feet to the adjoining visitors’ center, where they can receive campus maps, talk to UH representatives or access information using computer kiosks.

“When new or prospective students arrive on the campus, they are faced with a variety of decisions. It’s important to take some of the guesswork out of where they need to go for vital enrollment information,” said Donald Foss, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “It’s also essential that they know how to navigate the campus. The Welcome Center is the perfect place to begin a campus visit, as well as an ideal spot for students to start planning their academic futures.”

To further assist students, the Enrollment Services wing is designed with ample light and a spacious floor plan, so students can easily find the departments they need. It also offers them a choice between using self-service computer kiosks or speaking with representatives, who can answer questions or provide information.

“The Enrollment Services staff can readily address questions or concerns, but some students prefer using electronic media to access information,” said Agnes DeFranco, interim assistant vice president for Undergraduate Studies. “Having these options enhances Enrollment Services’ level of service and convenience to students.”

The Welcome Center also is designed to serve university visitors and alumni needing assistance finding locations, identifying programs, or getting maps or tours.

Part of the Welcome Center’s ground level is dedicated to commercial space. New vendors include the eateries Sonic and Tealicious. The university is currently negotiating with other vendors who are interested in opening storefronts in the space facing the Wellness Center across Calhoun.

The center’s parking garage officially opened in January. Three-hundred spaces are allotted for faculty, staff and visitors on the garage’s first and second levels, and 1,200 spaces are designated for students on the third, fourth and fifth levels. All spots reserved for vehicles with disability tags are located on the first level.

In 2004, the UH System Board of Regents approved the construction of the $25.8 million, 519,000-square- foot Welcome Center/parking garage. STOA, International Architects designed the facility and it was constructed by SpawGlass.

“This structure complements the university,” said David Irvin, associate vice president for plant operations. “In addition to welcoming students and visitors to campus, it’s representative of UH in its color palette and contemporary design. It was also designed with a number of modern security features. Once students arrive at the Welcome Center and see the proud UH messages, learn a bit of the history of the university and visit with university representatives, they’ll know what it means to be a Cougar.”

Future plans for the Welcome Center include adding a box office where tickets could be sold for performances, guest lectures and UH athletic events.

For more information on the Welcome Center, visit

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at