UH plans strategic Centennial Project


100. UH unveiled the Centennial Project this week, a beautification drive to “enhance the student and pedestrian experience.” The project has been in the works since (at least) 2020, when President Renu Khator announced parts of the plan.

While bits of the project have leaked out over the last year, this is the first time UH has brought it all together in a single vision. The goal is to emphasize the school as a destination rather than a commuter college. The University expects the project to be the ‘wow’ factor for people coming to campus and to make the campus more walkable and sustainable. “Our centennial plan is a transformative project,” said Khator.

One of the first parts of the plan is the demolition of Farish Hall, which will be torn down by 2025 and not replaced. In its place will be Centennial Plaza, what UH hopes will be “an awe-inspiring ceremonial, game day, and student gathering space” to be constructed in the original quad of the campus.

before and after – Centennial Plaza // Courtesy of UH

Next is reimagining the front door to the University, where a “gateway monument” will be built at Spur 5 and University Drive. Planners want a visible boundary to announce to visitors that they have entered University grounds. From there, a continuous line of trees will stretch to the Cullen Performance Hall.

The focus on more shade trees is calculated, adding a canopy for pedestrians all over campus. In addition to University Drive, UH says Lynn Eusan Park, Cougar Woods, Butler Plaza, and the campus woodland from the Science and Research 1 building to the College of Architecture will be “strategically targeted for landscaping improvements.” UH will focus on native trees and low-maintenance plants.

UH calls the University Drive a “pedestrian-first environment”

Pedestrian plazas will be added, as will ‘outdoor rooms,’ which are connected to walkways and provide space for dining and events.

Outdoor room // Courtesy of UH

UH expects to complete the project by the end of 2026, in time for the school’s 100th celebration in 2027. The cost is $35,000,000, although it is unclear if that includes the Farish Hall tear-down.

before and after – University Drive