UT-Arlington's new arena is the centerpiece of College Park district

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on January 5, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 5 at 10:57 PM

ARLINGTON - It's called College Park Center. 

It's the centerpiece of the new College Park district that's transforming UT-Arlington, perhaps more than any other development in the school's history.

"Even though it's only a 6,600 seat facility, it has the feel of a much larger professional venue," said David Skaggs with HKS architects.

HKS also did the new Cowboys Stadium, the American Airlines Center and TCU's recent stadium renovation.

"This is going to be right up there with the AA Center in terms of quality and kinds of technologies it has, and the fan experience," Skaggs said.

Giant video screens for fans, and luxurious, state-of-the-art training facilities, lounges and learning centers for student athletes.

It's all designed to draw high-caliber basketball players, and thus draw more attention to UTA itself, and its 34,000 students.

"I think if you look at large, research schools across the state or the country, they all have top-notch athletic programs," said UTA Vice President John Hall.

The $78-million arena will also host concerts, big name lectures and graduation ceremonies. It's the kind of building UTA and the City of Arlington have never had.

The entire College Park district includes on-campus housing for another 600 students, a new welcome center and a new park. Much of it was paid for by prominent Arlington business people.

"The total cost for the College Park district is $160 million," Hall said. "A little more than $30 million has come from external sources."

Thus, it will be the Petsche Basketball Court, Dan Diepert Welcome Center, Moritz Plaza and Vandergriff Hall.

For a school without the storied past of a TCU or SMU, UTA is out to make some history, and make some noise in its new arena starting in February.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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