It's official -- the "Eagle has landed" in Frisco. Unanimous approval of UNT's new "public-public" partnership with the city of Frisco and its Frisco Economic and Community Development corporations is making way for what will ultimately be a branch campus to serve at least 5,000 students, providing higher education and research opportunities for future generations.
"We're excited to grow our relationship with UNT," says Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney. "Affordable, quality education is an integral part of being a vibrant, innovative and sustainable community. This partnership means a lot to me as a city leader, as a parent and as a business owner."
UNT President Neal Smatresk says UNT is proud to be the chosen partner in providing innovative learning and partnership opportunities to the Frisco and greater Collin and Denton County areas.
"With this partnership, UNT will bring the innovation and ambition to the city of Frisco that UNT embodies as the nation's 29th largest public research university," Smatresk says. "With our home in Denton, we've always been the world-class university next door, but now we are the global university available right outside your front porch. We are excited about developing what comes next, and look forward to working seamlessly with our partners at Collin College to ensure that the UNT graduates from our campus in Frisco are uniquely qualified to meet the evolving needs of a creative economy driven by education."
Currently, UNT teaches about 1,600 students in Collin County each semester -- about 1,200 at the New College at Frisco, which opened in Hall Park in spring 2016, and about 400 at the Collin Higher Education Center in McKinney. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, Frisco's population seeks convenient higher education opportunities in a complex, forward-looking corporate ecosystem.
"We saw this as a major opportunity to invest in a four-year, top-notch university, which has always been part of the city of Frisco's long-term vision," says Wren Ovard, chair of the Frisco Community Development Corp.
As the city continues to grow, the Frisco Independent School District is projected to add at least 10,000 more students by 2022, with UNT aiming to meet their educational needs.
"With the creation of partnership-based curriculum in degrees designed specifically to integrate with Collin College -- the first of which will be available this fall -- UNT's offerings in Frisco will be at the forefront of the movement to transform higher education," says Jennifer Cowley, UNT provost and vice president for academic affairs. "UNT graduates know how to keep up with a next-generation economy, and with businesses, community and civic organizations as our partners in the classroom, our graduates will be even better prepared to define what comes next."
Construction on the UNT branch campus is scheduled to start no later than March 2022. A master plan for the initial site will be developed with representatives from Frisco.
The future UNT branch campus will be located at the southwest corner of Preston Road and Panther Creek Parkway on 100 acres of land, to start, provided by the city of Frisco at no cost. Construction is anticipated to begin no later than March 2022.
In spring 2019, UNT will expand operations at Inspire Park, a 50,000-square-foot building on 4.8 acres adjacent to the new land. Students can expect flexible, seamless degree programs that are responsive to their needs.
New College at Frisco
At UNT's New College at Frisco, located at Hall Park, classes leading to degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels are available. UNT's offerings in Frisco are perfect for students seeking careers in business, education, design, analytics and sports. Students can pursue degrees in areas including recreation, event and sport management, strategic corporate communication, advanced data analytics and interaction design, among others.