ARLINGTON - The final design for UT Arlington's new, $78 million special events center emphasizes energy efficiency, natural light and materials and flexible seating in a new venue for convocations, concerts and athletics that will define the University's eastern edge.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously approved the design today during the board's regular meeting in Austin. Groundbreaking is scheduled in spring 2010, and the center is expected to open in early 2012.
With seating for up to 6,500, the center will serve as home court for UT Arlington Mavericks basketball and volleyball teams, commencement and other community events. Designed by HKS Inc., the center mixes brick and stone exteriors with windows that stretch nearly the full height of the 50-foot building and bathe its concourses in natural light. The building's clean lines complement the University's modern feel.
HKS designed the 218,000-square-foot center to meet LEED Silver standards, incorporating many energy-efficient features, including low-emittance glazed windows, a highly reflective roof that will reduce the solar load on the building and a low-use water system. The building will incorporate regional materials and will include native landscaping.
The center will open onto a new pedestrian mall on what is now Second Street between Center and Pecan streets. A four-story, mixed-use residence hall and parking garage will be built immediately north of the events center. UT Arlington is partnering with the city of Arlington to develop a pedestrian parkway along Center Street and a green space on the building's south side.
Dan Phillips, HKS senior project designer, said his team worked to ensure that the center engages the planned Center Street Green. Patrons will be able to step outside to enjoy the setting at various points along the concourses, he said.
"The building will feel like it is in a park. It will be very welcoming," Phillips said. "With all the glass, at night the building will glow. You'll sense that something is going on inside, and you'll want to be part of it."
Collectively, the projects will reframe what is rapidly becoming known as "East Campus," UT Arlington's growing corridor east of Cooper Street/Farm Road 157. The multi-purpose venue will contribute significantly to the goal of making downtown Arlington into a college town.
"This events center will be an instant landmark on the UT Arlington campus," said John Hall, the University's vice president for administration and campus operations. "It will provide a strong connection to the redevelopment of downtown Arlington and the University."
Contracting inquiries should be directed to The University of Texas System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction at www.utsystem.edu/FPC/ or 512-499-4600.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.