HOUSTON (KTRK) --The University of Houston and the family of Judge Roy Hofheinz have reached an agreement on the naming of the arena on campus, the school reported Tuesday.
In 1969 Hofheinz gave the school $1.5 million to finish construction of the school's basketball arena. The gift specified it would be called Hofheinz pavilion. In a city where Hoheinz's impact can be seen all over, the Pavillion was the only building named for him when it opened in 1970.
Forty-six years later Hofheinz has passed and his namesake building is showing its age. The school is planning a $60 million renovation and sold naming rights to a still anonymous donor. When the family learned that detail in news reports, they were angry. Both the family and school filed papers in court.
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On Tuesday, they announced a settlement.
John Raley of the Raley & Bowick law firm represents the Hofheinz family. He tells abc13, "He (Judge Roy Hofheinz) loved the university and would want to find a way to resolve this. The family is interested in the university going forward, but they would also like their father to be remembered."
University of Houston VP for Intercollegiate Athletics agreed telling abc13 the deal sealed Tuesday will do that. "They are a big part of the success we've had as an institution. We've had a lot of success in this building and the Hofheinz name should forever be carried on this campus."
Judge Hofheinz's son Fred said in a statement, "We know our father would want the athletic program at the University of Houston to prosper. So we know he would support this move which will bring the basketball arena, which bore his name for 47 years, in to the 21st century. All of us in the Hofheinz family say: 'Go Coogs!'"
According to the University of Houston, a portion of Holman Street adjacent to the arena between Cullen and Scott Streets will be renamed to honor Judge Hofheinz. The school will also build a plaza with a bronze statue of Hofheinz.
Furthermore, an area within the UH Alumni Center will honor Hofheinz's contributions and service, and the library will keep an archive section on him collecting the papers of the former County Judge, Houston Mayor and longtime businessman.
The initial disagreement was apparently based on bad communication. Raley tells abc13 the judge's family learned of their father's name being removed from a news report.
"I think the University would agree this was mishandled from the beginning," he said.
University of Houston VP for Intercollegiate Athletics agreed telling abc13, "We could have begun communications earlier."
As for the arena itself, the school will move forward with its renaming and reconstruction of the arena. At this point, there is no new name for the arena which is expected to open during the 2018/2019 season.