DENTON, Texas -- A new football stadium for the University of North Texas is about to become a reality. Plans for the stadium passed their final hurdle Thursday when the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the proposal.
A public groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled Nov. 21, prior to the UNT-Army game, and the Mean Green will move into the new facility for the 2011 season.
The new stadium will replace 57-year-old Fouts Field, and will be the first collegiate football stadium designed by award-winning HKS Inc. Architects, the firm that designed the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. The university will be seeking Gold LEED certification, one of the highest levels of sustainable achievement. UNT likely will be the first college football stadium with a Gold LEED designation.
"If you look at America's great universities, you'll see that they all have the three A's in common: great academics, great arts and great athletics. All are key to a vibrant alumni community and continued growth. And all require great facilities," said UNT President Gretchen M. Bataille. "I am committed to ensuring that UNT, like many of the nation's best research universities, strives to be excellent in everything we do."
"This is truly a monumental day in the future of North Texas athletics and is a credit to dedication and effort of our administration, alumni and students who have supported this project from the beginning," said Rick Villareal, UNT athletic director.
The new stadium will be the centerpiece in UNT's Mean Green Village. Plans for the multi-purpose facility include increased tailgating space, capacity for about 30,000 fans, luxury suites, an amenity-filled club level, a Spirit Store, a corporate deck and a Touchdown Terrace. In addition to hosting UNT events, it will serve the entire North Texas region as a venue for outdoor concerts, community events, high school games and band competitions.
Support from alumni and community members is vital in realizing this project. "I've waited for years to build a new stadium for the Mean Green," said Jordan Case, chair of the volunteer committee raising private donations for the facility. "Thanks to the many donors who are making lead gifts and those who will join us in the coming months, our new stadium will be a spectacular demonstration of UNT's commitment to first-rate athletics."
UNT has built 10 new athletics facilities since 2002, including an Athletics Center and new venues for softball, tennis, soccer, swimming and volleyball, as well as a 7,000-square-foot academic center that is dedicated to helping student athletes succeed academically. During that time, each of the teams has improved steadily.
To build the stadium, UNT will follow a funding model that is typically used for the construction and maintenance of U.S. college athletic facilities. Funding for the construction and operation of the new stadium will come from a combination of sources such as private donations, corporate sponsorships, club and suite sales, facility naming rights agreements, game guarantees, ticket sales, facility rental fees, concessions and student athletics fees.
In October 2008, UNT students voted in favor of the school's first ever dedicated athletic fee - which will be implemented only when the stadium opens.
Located on the site of the former Eagle Point Golf Course, adjacent to the Athletics Center and directly across Interstate 35 from the Murchison Performing Arts Center, the new complex will create a distinctive and memorable gateway to campus.