UNT Frisco master plan projects ‘unusually short’ timeline, potential Fields development collaboration

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The master plan for the University of North Texas’ Frisco campus aims to connect to the adjacent Fields development and a future city park. And this build-out could finish sooner rather than later, Ayers Saint Gross Architects design director Jack Black said at the UNT System Board of Regents meeting Aug. 15.

“Development window of this campus is unusually short,” Black told the board.

The Frisco branch campus is looking at a 25- to 30-year timeline. But this timeline could move up by 10 years in the event of “significant” growth and land assets, Black said. The complete build-out of college developments is typically 50 years, he said.

The campus’ future students could find educational opportunities with the Fields development, which will include the Professional Golfers’ Association of America’s headquarters, dean of UNT at Frisco Wesley Randall said.

“Being right next to Fields is outstanding,” Randall said. “There are some great opportunities for public/private partnerships.”

UNT senior vice president for finance and administration Bob Brown said UNT and the Fields development are in talks with one another, though no plans are official.

“I think where we can have partnerships with private industry for projects makes financial sense for [Fields] and allows us to spend our money on the education research and services,” Brown said.

Other public and private partnerships could involve student housing, Brown told the board. The Fields development is expected to have single- and multi-family housing options.

The branch campus currently does not have student housing as a part of its master plan, but Brown said the private industry will likely address this.

“The chance is greater than 50% [the private industry]will respond with student housing,” Brown said.

UNT and the city of Frisco have discussed connecting trails from the UNT Frisco campus to the future park projected to be west of campus, Brown said. Preliminary discussions have considered a shared parking lot between UNT Frisco and the park.

“They do intend to cooperate with us,” Brown said. “I think we want to because we’ll want to have [recreation]sports programs.”

Conversations with the city have extended toward the campus’ future educational opportunities, Randall said. UNT discussed Frisco’s economic development plan with the city of Frisco and Collin College.

“We have a good idea of the kinds of jobs coming in the next five, 10, 15 years,” Randall said. “And our students are right in the middle of it.”

“Massive” interest by Frisco businesses will lead to partnerships with the Dallas Cowboys, the Frisco RoughRiders, the city of Frisco, software company HCL Technologies and Core Construction.

Around 1,600 UNT students are currently making their mark in Frisco at UNT’s Hall Park and Inspire Park campuses as well as at the Collin College Higher Education Center in McKinney. Beginning in fall 2019, UNT Frisco will have its first cohort of 25 freshmen looking to complete a degree in project design and analysis out of the Hall Park campus, Randall said. These students will complete their degree in three years as it includes summer semesters with paid internships as part of the curriculum.

When students begin classes at the upcoming UNT Frisco campus in the spring 2023 semester, the first part of the campus will be ready. It will contain the campus entrance, a surface parking lot, the first building structure, a bell tower, a prairie amphitheater and a pavilion. The campus could be as large as 150,000 square feet.

The campus could also have a student population of 3,000, UNT marketing specialist Vincent Fisher, said.

Five years later, Brown said at least two more structures will be built to complete the initial phase of the plan. By this point, campus could be double the size.

“How fast it goes after that depends on how successful the site is and [how successful]we are in generating enrollment,” Brown said.

The master plan indicates that further build-out will include two additional mall areas, which contain walkable spaces and natural surroundings, an event plaza, a trail system, preserved natural areas and a central amphitheater.

Editor’s note: The original post has been edited to correct an error. UNT Frisco’s first cohort of 25 freshmen started in fall 2019. The story was also updated to include UNT’s current enrollment in Frisco.

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  1. The actual address of the future campus site, with major thoroughfares included, would be helpful.

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