University to explore building campus events center
President James D. Spaniolo in January announced plans to build a special events center on campus.
As UTA increasingly becomes a more traditional university with more students living on campus and a full activities calendar, including men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, other sports, convocations, lectures and concerts, the need for an all-purpose special events center becomes a greater priority, Spaniolo said.
Since 1966, the University’s volleyball and basketball teams have played in Texas Hall, a theater-style facility converted for athletics. During games, a wooden court covers the stage.
“Texas Hall is no longer a viable option for our NCAA Division I teams, though it will remain an important facility for the University,” Spaniolo said.
Last fall, Student Congress voted unanimously in support of constructing a special events center on campus. “The programs and events that UTA students will be able to enjoy as a result of a new facility have many students anxiously anticipating its progress,” said SC President Casey Townsend.
Fund-raising efforts will focus on construction of the new center, thus tabling the reviving of football at UTA for about five years. An independent study released in October estimated sports expansion could cost as much as $17 million.
“This is a matter of timing,” said Spaniolo. “Our greatest need is for a special events building that not only will accommodate intercollegiate sports but also provide a spacious location for a variety of University and community events.
“The pending arrival of the Dallas Cowboys also will affect UTA in ways we cannot foresee. We will be better prepared to look at football again and to evaluate its pros and cons when the Cowboys’ new stadium is in place and an atmosphere of change has settled on the city.”
In the meantime, Spaniolo will consult with UTA student leaders and others to assess the feasibility of moving forward with sports expansion to include women’s golf and soccer. The Southland Conference currently fields eight women’s soccer and five women’s golf teams.
UT San Antonio recently announced plans to begin competing in both sports in 2005-06. UTA students passed a referendum in April 2004, agreeing to increase fees to help fund football, women’s golf and women’s soccer teams.