DALLAS — A master plan for the 100 acres of land donated to develop the University of North Texas New College at Frisco was unveiled during a UNT Board of Regents meeting Thursday.
The first-phase plan will cost an estimated $100 million and include roads, parking lots, the first academic building, a nature pavilion and a footbridge to an incoming mixed-use development, said Bob Brown, UNT senior vice president of finance and administration.
UNT hired Ayers Saint Gross, a college architecture and planning firm based in Baltimore, to help design the project. Construction is slated to begin in October 2020 and be completed in November 2022.
“They understand what a unique opportunity this is to build a green field campus from scratch; it’s a rare and exciting opportunity,” Brown said. “They understood that we wanted to create a different student experience for this campus, leveraging the best of who we are in the creative economy while connecting with business and community partners throughout Frisco.”
Last May, UNT and the city of Frisco formed a partnership to fuel UNT’s development of a campus branch in Collin County. The New College at Frisco first opened in spring 2016, and UNT bought Inspire Park, an incubator space, from the city last October. Several miles away from Inspire Park, the 100-acre lot for the new campus is situated at the southwest corner of Panther Creek Parkway and Preston Road and is visible from the Dallas North Tollway.
While initial plans had projected the first phase would be completed in January 2023, Brown said that officials wanted to bump up the schedule so they could open for the spring 2023 semester.
In the meeting, Brown also showed the 20-year plan for building out the entire campus in different phases. The timing and cost of those phases will be based on potential growth. Internally, UNT officials say they believe that in the next 20 years the campus could have 20,000 students.
Currently, the campus has 450 students who exclusively attend classes in Frisco, and more than 1,000 other UNT students who take one or more classes in Frisco. Next year, Brown said they expect to have 950 students who will attend classes only at the Frisco campus.
In the full campus plan, officials hope to have several academic buildings, a business conference center, two parking garages, an event quad and amphitheater while leaving about 45 acres undeveloped.
“Almost half the site will stay green and we’re leaving the wetland areas alone,” Brown said. “We’re going to do an education center in that area so we can take advantage of the natural beauty of the site.”
There are no plans for on-campus housing at this time, Brown said. Instead, he says he believes students will likely live at the mixed-use development that will be accessible by the footbridge across Panther Creek Parkway.
The project will head back to the board in August with more details for approval.