Innovative, new partnership leads University of North Texas to build Frisco campus

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 17:45

It’s official. The ‘eagle has landed’ in Frisco, giving new meaning to the phrase. Unanimous approval of a new ‘public-public’ partnership between the City of Frisco, its Frisco Economic and Community Development Corporations and the University of North Texas (UNT) makes 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.

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. UNT will purchase a 50,000-square foot, FEDC-owned office building, 6170 Research Road, for about $8.5 million. Under the purchase agreement, UNT will take ownership of the property Oct. 1, 2018. The new ‘public-public’ partners also will consider other joint projects including, but not limited to, facilities, parks and open space, and parking.

“We’re excited to grow our relationship with UNT and its ‘Mean Green’ team,” said Mayor Jeff Cheney. “This investment in our future provides our residents new opportunities to get bachelor’s or master’s degrees right here at home. 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 a business owner. It also boosts economic development, which benefits Frisco and our entire region.”

UNT President Neal Smatresk said UNT is proud to be the City of Frisco’s chosen partner in providing innovative learning and partnership opportunities of the highest quality to the people, communities and businesses of Frisco and the greater Collin and Denton county areas.

“With this partnership, UNT will bring the innovation and ambition that UNT embodies as one of the nation’s 115 Tier One research universities to the City of Frisco,” said UNT President Neal Smatresk. “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 in Collin College to ensure that 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 more than 1,500 students in Collin County each semester – about 1,200 at the UNT 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 is home to a population seeking convenient higher education opportunities that respond to a complex, forwardlooking community of industries. As the city continues to grow, the Frisco Independent School District is projected to add at least 10,000 more students by 2022.

“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,” said Jennifer Cowley, UNT provost. “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.”

“This enhances our ability to attract everything from Fortune 500 to startup businesses,” said Ron Patterson, president, Frisco Economic Development Corporation. “Many of our corporate prospects ask about research for business development and continuing education opportunities for their employees. This partnership creates more collaborative opportunities leading to new innovations and businesses, as well as business expansions and relocations which help bring high paying jobs to our community.”

“We (FCDC) 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,” said Wren Ovard, chair, Frisco Community Development Corporation.

Construction on the branch campus will be completed in two, 50-acre phases. UNT has the option to buy another 50 acres for approximately $185,000 per acre. The 100 acres of city property being exchanged as part of the UNT partnership is part of the city’s 390-acre land purchase from Brinkmann Ranch earlier this year for $61 million. The remaining 240 acres will be used for City of Frisco athletic fields.

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.

Registration at the UNT New College at Frisco in Hall Park is underway for summer and fall offerings. Classes leading to degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level are available. UNT’s offerings in Frisco are perfect for students seeking careers in business, education, design, analytics and sports.

Learn more at or call 972-668-7100 or email For questions about specific programs, contact the UNT Office of Advising Services at 940-565-3633 or email

UNT News Service
(940) 565-2108