From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
February 7, 2001
For more information, call:
LaJuana Barton @ 512-463-0123
Lemuel Price @ 512-463-0664


AUSTIN, Texas -- On Wednesday, February 7, 2001, Senator Royce West, Representative Jesse Jones and a delegation of Dallas and state legislators held a press conference in the Lieutenant Governor's Press Conference Room (Capitol Room 2E.9) to announce the filing of Senate and House bills that would statutorily establish the University of North Texas at Dallas. The bill is a paramount step toward establishing the first four-year, state-supported university located in the City of Dallas.

"Since the Spring of 1997, many concerned citizens and elected officials have envisioned the creation of a public institution of higher education in the southern sector of Dallas County to serve the entire Metroplex and the north-central Texas region. After diligently following the path set forth by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, we are pressing forward to establish the University of North Texas at Dallas in statute," said Senator West.

This effort has been supported during the interim through the initial state appropriation of $4.2 million, municipal and private support of approximately $2.6 million, and a commitment from the City of Dallas by resolution that allows up to $3 million to be spent for the purchase of land or infrastructure for the permanent campus.

"There is a great need for a state-supported university in the City of Dallas, strategically located to serve all citizens in our state. The overwhelming support of local governments, the business sector, civic leaders along with the increasing number of students now attending the UNT System Center suggest that the time is ripe to establish UNT at Dallas," said Representative Jones.

"Senator West and Representative Jones are to be congratulated for their leadership in proposing this opportunity to plan properly, the development of this critically important response to the higher education needs of southern Dallas County and Ellis County," said Dr. Alfred Hurley, Chancellor, University of North Texas System.

Upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses have been offered since January 2000 at the University of North Texas System Center at Dallas. The 78,239 foot facility was opened some 104 days after a groundbreaking ceremony on September 9, 1999 attended by more than 1,000 supporters.

"The immediate success of the current UNT System Center at Dallas in 2000 is evidence that a university will be well received by the citizens of the area," added Dr. Virginia Wheeless, Interim Executive Director, UNT System Center at Dallas. "We need this university to bring public higher education to an area of the Metroplex that historically has been under-served and to provide a better-educated workforce for North Texas."

"The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has outlined what is necessary for Texas to 'close the gap' in higher education. The University of North Texas at Dallas will be a vehicle by which this process will occur," concluded Senator West.

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