UNT, Frisco City Leaders Approve Plan to Build New Branch

A series of unanimous votes on Tuesday paves the way for the University of North Texas to open a branch campus in Frisco. The votes call for UNT to begin construction of a branch campus by March 31, 2022, on land owned by city entities at the southwest corner of Panther Creek Parkway and Preston Road. The branch will serve at least 5,000 students."This has been a long-time dream of Frisco," Mayor Jeff Cheney said. The agreement not only provides higher education opportunities for residents but also is a business attraction tool for city leaders, he said. "We couldn't be any more excited about what this partnership means for our community, for our businesses, for our residents and for our children here in Frisco to have these kinds of opportunities right here in their own backyard," Cheney said. The new branch will need approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board or the Legislature.UNT President Neal Smatresk said putting a campus in Frisco made sense the area has one of the fastest growing population growths in the country and has a large number of companies headquartered there.Beyond that, he said, "Our university recognizes that the growth of the creative and digital economies are going to be what drives this region for the foreseeable future. In order for us to better engage our students in career preparation and development for jobs that maybe we can't even quite picture, we need to make sure that we're closing the gaps between really innovative regions and corporate partners and the university." "We can't think of a better place to do that than Frisco," he said. Bringing a four-year university to Frisco has long been a goal of city leaders who aim to serve their growing population and attract more corporations.The campus would be built on the southwest corner of Preston Road and Panther Creek Parkway. Details are outlined in a master development agreement with the city of Frisco, UNT, the Frisco Economic Development Corporation and the Frisco Community Development Corporation.The North Texas area already has about 40 higher education campuses -- including community colleges as well as public and private four-year institutions. There are also several for-profit companies operating in the area. The closest four-year school to UNT's new site is the University of Texas at Dallas, about 15 miles away along the border of Collin and Dallas counties. UT-Dallas has about 27,600 students enrolled -- about 18,000 are undergraduates. UT-Dallas is frequently the top university pick for Collin County students. In the fall semester, it enrolled the most graduates from Plano (317) and Frisco (187) than other four-year institutions. Others attend the two-year Collin College.This story will be updated throughout the day.  Continue reading...

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