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College Town

Building a strong and lasting sense of community
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Successful universities don’t exist in isolation. Instead, they forge collaborations that accelerate new ideas and generate excitement in the community. UT Arlington’s partnerships have never been stronger or more fruitful. Together we’re creating a college town environment that blurs the boundaries between our campus and downtown Arlington. The emerging College Park District is central to that agenda. This 20-acre, mixed-use development will establish a hub of activity that stimulates and complements private development in downtown Arlington. The College Park District features three key elements. At its core is College Park Center, a 6,500-seat events venue that will be home to UT Arlington basketball and volleyball and host commencements and other community events. The district also includes the College Park mixed-use development and The Green at College Park.

large crane stands in the center of College Park development site

CHAMPIONING AN URBAN VIBRANCY

UT Arlington broke ground in fall 2010 on College Park, a residential and retail development that underscores the strong ties between the University and its downtown neighbors. The $80 million project includes an $18 million commitment from the City of Arlington toward a parking structure and 1.5 acres of land donated by First Baptist Church-Arlington. Together with College Park Center to the south, a new 20-acre, $160 million College Park District is being formed.

College Park features a residence hall wrapped around an 1,800-vehicle parking garage with street-level retail and office suites south of UTA Boulevard, between Pecan and Center streets. It also includes a campus welcome center, a satellite campus police station, and 81 apartment units. Expected to open in summer 2012, the development will provide housing for about 600 students.

“More and more, our students are demanding high-quality residences close to class. College Park will help meet that need,” says Jerry Lewis, UT Arlington vice president for communications. “But it also will help create an urban vibrancy, a true college town, through its shops and offices, and through those who take advantage of the parking garage for College Park Center activities.”

Designed by Jacobs Engineering Group to meet LEED Silver standards for energy and environmental efficiencies, College Park mixes glass with metal, brick, and stone in a contemporary update to the prevalent campus architecture and in accordance with the University’s master plan and design guidelines.

Other amenities include a First Street connection that will encourage street-level retail activity and enhanced architectural finishes that will create vertical separation and give the development the look of urban townhouses.

Earvin 'Magic' Johnson

ENLIGHTENED AND ENTERTAINED

One major benefit of living in a college town is close access to quality educational, cultural, entertainment, and athletic events. 

Basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson was among the luminaries UT Arlington welcomed to campus last year. He took part in the popular Maverick Speakers Series, which provides an in-depth look at the people, ideas, actions, and solutions that impact the world. The 2009-10 lineup also included astronaut Sally Ride, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, author and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and bestselling author and urban theorist Richard Florida, now a Distinguished Visiting Professor at UT Arlington.

Featuring some of the leading voices of our time, the Maverick Speakers Series invites opinions from all sides, with topics as diverse and far-reaching as the people who present them. Because unrestricted access to such exchanges encourages insight and enrichment beyond the UT Arlington campus, every lecture in the series is free and open to the public.

In addition to offering timely commentary from thought-provoking lecturers, the University hosts a robust slate of eclectic entertainment options. Internationally known musicians, comedians, and performing acts provide inviting and affordable opportunities for an exciting night on the town.

UT Arlington’s own students and faculty members showcase their talents with year-round musical performances, theater productions, and art exhibits. For college sports fans, the University is a great place to take in an athletics event. Maverick teams compete in NCAA Division I basketball, baseball, indoor and outdoor track and field, cross country, softball, volleyball, tennis, and golf. 

artist's rendering of completed College Park Center

CREATING A CENTER OF DISTINCTION

College Park Center, the much-anticipated special events venue, will provide a striking centerpiece for the College Park District.

Construction began in March 2010 on this $78 million, 218,000-square-foot facility that offers the Maverick basketball and volleyball teams a new home court and gives the University and downtown Arlington a signature landmark for world-class concerts, speakers, commencements, and other events.

Rising between Second and Third streets east of South Pecan Street, College Park Center will accommodate up to 7,600 guests for a center-stage concert and 6,500 for traditional court-based athletics events. The state-of-the-art practice and competition facility promises to create opportunities to schedule high-profile competition, enhance recruiting, and attract significantly larger audiences and media coverage.

As part of its commitment to academic excellence, the University plans to devote significant space to an academic support study center with a study hall, computer lab, group study room, and areas for academic advising.

The venue’s location will help lure the Arlington community downtown. The city has made it a priority to breathe new life into the area, already adding entertainment, retail, and dining opportunities. The special events center will provide the tipping point the city needs, catalyzing many of these initiatives and having a ripple effect on downtown revitalization efforts and campus life development, ultimately accelerating and enriching both.

College Park Center is being designed by HKS Inc. to meet LEED Gold specifications. It is expected to open in December 2011, with major events scheduled for 2012. 

Major Cluck and President Spaniolo break ground on College Park

PARTNERS IN PROGRESS

UT Arlington recognizes the power of a strong town-gown link. That’s why University and civic leaders are blurring the lines between the campus and the city in myriad ways.

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, left, has become a fixture at events like the College Park groundbreaking, where he joined University President James D. Spaniolo in tossing the first shovels of dirt. Spaniolo and Cluck also have teamed up for a OneBook Conversations presentation, and they regularly travel to Washington, D.C., and to Austin to meet jointly with lawmakers.

Under their leadership, the geographic boundaries between the campus and the city are becoming non-existent, too, as the focus on creating a dynamic college town environment crystallizes.

Already, UT Arlington creates an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion in the region, and the College Park District will fuel an even more enterprising climate.  

“UT Arlington is the most important asset we have in this city,” Cluck says. “We are chalking up successes in terms of building our economy and revitalizing our downtown area. College Park will play a critical role.”

Spaniolo credits Cluck with crafting a collaboration that will benefit all who want to see increased activity downtown and in the College Park District.

“This is a model for town-gown partnerships,” Spaniolo says. “Anyone who drives south on Center Street through the heart of our city can see it: Something big is happening. We are witnessing the intersection of downtown revitalization and an increasingly vibrant university. Together, we are shaping Arlington into a true college town.”