During the UTA Maverick men’s and women’s basketball games on February 5, 2022, the University of Texas at Arlington will be commemorating the 10th anniversary of the College Park Center (click here for FREE tickets).
On February 1, 2012, when College Park Center opened for the first time, media called the 218,000-square-foot arena, “eye-popping,” “luxurious,” “game-changing,” and “exquisite.” A New York Times article heralded College Park as “not just as a new era for the University’s sports programs, but for the University as well.”
If you’re new to Downtown Arlington or the UTA community, it’s hard to believe that prior to 2012, the UTA Mavericks basketball teams competed in NCAA Division I athletics from the stage of Texas Hall. It’s no wonder the opening of College Park was such an emotional moment for UTA fans, staff, faculty, students and alumni, including Jim Spaniolo, who served as UT Arlington President from 2004-2013:
"Why was there so much excitement and emotion that night?" reflected Spaniolo. "Because opening College Park Center was living the Dream, a dream that was thought to be impossible for many years. It proved that we were not destined to play basketball and volleyball on the stage of the vintage auditorium, Texas Hall. Maverick Pride was on full display. It was a celebration for UTA and the City of Arlington joined together. So many individuals worked tirelessly with great energy, creativity, and a collaborative spirit to make College Park Center a reality. Maverick Magic! I will be forever grateful" (click here for more recollections from Spaniolo and other Mavericks).
Today, the College Park Center is home court for UTA volleyball and basketball and the WNBA Dallas Wings. The Center has also hosted countless events year-round including UTA commencement and AISD graduation ceremonies; concerts; conferences; and 10 years of UTA Maverick Speakers Series headliners including Bob Costas, Terry Crews, Jane Goodall, and Seth Meyers.
"I’ve always thought College Park Center has a majestic appearance," said Spaniolo. "It doesn’t look like a traditional basketball arena; from outward appearances, it could be a concert hall or performing arts center. A real addition to the physical attractiveness of the campus. Over the past 10 years, it has been the venue for so many varied events. It’s literally been a building for all seasons!"
College Park Center is the crown jewel of the UTA College Park District, a 20-acre, $160 million mixed-use development that was the first of its kind in Downtown Arlington. The entire District, which stretches along Center Street from UTA Boulevard to Mitchell Street, was enthusiastically supported by many – including the City of Arlington, First Baptist Church-Arlington, and Downtown Arlington -- as a critical element to both economic development in Downtown and as a pedestrian connector to enhance Downtown’s walkability. The City committed up to $18 million toward the project, while First Baptist provided 1.5 acres toward the parking structures.
On the north side of the College Park District is street-level retail, a residence hall and apartments for 600 students, a parking structure, and the Dan Dipert University Welcome Center. Along the District’s southern edge is The Green at College Park, which is internationally recognized for its green landscape, design, construction, and maintenance practices. College Park Center itself is a LEED gold building, a top certification given by the U.S. Green Building Council for cost-effective design based in sustainable building practices.
But to Mavericks, College Park Center is so much greater than the sum of its parts.
“When College Park Center opened, it felt like the shift UTA had been looking for for so long,” said Beth Francesco, Senior Director at National Press Club Journalism Institute in Washington D.C. and proud UTA alumna. “It was big and bold and signaled new traditions for so many of us... I remember the awe The Shorthorn staff had beforehand on the official behind-the-scenes tour… Later, when I got to work graduations there, the building transformed into this home for all the emotions: joy, pride, relief, excitement, and a little sadness for the students about to leave their Maverick home. It's never been just a building.”
Check out our sidebar story for more first-hand recollections of the opening of College Park Center.
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College Park Center
10th Anniversary Match-Ups
Saturday, February 5, 2022
2:00 pm - Women's game vs. Appalachian State
5:00 pm - Men's Game vs. Appalachian State
As a special token of appreciation to our readers, we are giving away free tickets to the game! Guests of Downtown Arlington can use the promo code DOWNTOWN to claim up to 10 complimentary tickets for the game at utatickets.com/promo.
About the University of Texas at Arlington
In 2021, the University of Texas at Arlington became just the fourth institution in the state to achieve designation as a Texas Tier One university, an attribution of excellence in academics and research that brings with it access to the state’s National Research University Fund. In addition, the University ranks No. 1 nationally in the Military Times annual “Best for Vets: Colleges” list, is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution and has approximately 250,000 alumni making an impact across Texas and beyond.
About Downtown Arlington
Designated by the State of Texas as the Arlington Cultural District, Downtown Arlington is where creativity, authenticity, and hometown pride thrive and drive what's next. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to UT Arlington, a Tier One public research university, plus prolific visual and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate.
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