Blurring the Boundaries
Rising college town development underscores strong ties between University, city
“Anyone who drives south on Center Street through the heart of our city can see that something big is happening. Together, we are shaping Arlington into a true college town.”
The first of three major components of the College Park District opened in April, and the other two are rising rapidly in the 20-acre urban renewal development on the UT Arlington campus.
The Green at College Park provides a southern gateway into the emerging college town environment and has quickly become a popular gathering spot. The 2.5 acres feature a large lawn, a curved stone wall with seating, native plants, recycled materials, and a dry creek bed for storm water drainage. Designed by Schrickel, Rollins and Associates, the park is among 150 sites worldwide that will test the first-ever international rating system for green landscape design, construction, and maintenance.
Taking shape just north of The Green is College Park Center, a $78 million, 6,600-seat special events venue that will provide a striking centerpiece for the College Park District. The center is expected to be fully enclosed by late July and is on pace for a December completion.
College Park Center will offer the Mavericks basketball and volleyball teams a new home court and give the University and downtown Arlington a signature landmark for world-class concerts, speakers, commencements, and other events. HKS Inc. designed the facility to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver specifications.
North of College Park Center, the College Park residential and retail development comprises residence halls and apartments wrapped around two parking structures, one of which will open this summer. The remainder of the project, which features housing for about 600 students, a welcome center, street-level retail, office suites, and the second parking structure, is scheduled to be finished in summer 2012.
The $80 million development includes a commitment of up to $18 million from Arlington to help fund the cost of the parking structures and 1.5 acres of land donated by First Baptist Church Arlington. Jacobs Engineering Group designed the project to meet LEED Silver standards.
The College Park District represents the shared goal of UT Arlington and the city to stimulate and complement downtown development.
“This is a model for town-gown partnerships,” UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo says. “Anyone who drives south on Center Street through the heart of our city can see that something big is happening. Together, we are shaping Arlington into a true college town.”