January will be a major month for the University of North Texas as it opens the first building of its new Frisco campus — a 135,000-square-foot symbol of its northward expansion.
The building will be called Frisco Landing, Star Local Media reported, and it will house some of the 27 programs that will be offered at the campus.
Frisco Landing will welcome both undergraduate and graduate students.
The president of UNT Denton, Dr. Neal Smatresk, spoke to Star Local Media about the expansion of the university.
Smatresk shared that he is excited for Frisco Landing to take learning beyond the confines of classical education.
“When we first started planning UNT at Frisco and the first building, I wanted to do something that took education out of the classroom, out of just assembling a collection of courses to complete a degree and check the boxes off,” he said. “I wanted UNT to take a different approach in creating learning experiences that change you. I think we’re accomplishing that with the classes that will be at Frisco Landing, both with innovative design of the classrooms and with the project-based learning that brings industry into the classroom to give students learning opportunities they won’t find anywhere else.”
Smatresk added that having a Frisco campus will be helpful in closing the gap between the corporate world and higher education. Students will be exposed to real-world experiences and work.
UNT at Frisco is being established with the goal of putting students to work with corporate partners in the Frisco region.
Frisco Landing will be able to give students a one-of-a-kind experience at various levels, according to Smatresk.
“The UNT at Frisco branch campus is gorgeous and the innovative design of Frisco Landing provides for unique opportunities for our students and faculty to learn and collaborate,” he told Star Local Media. “It’s truly a work of art that was designed around creating the best possible student experience.”
Frisco Landing is just the first building of what will be a 100-acre campus, Community Impact reported in October. The campus will also be the first Tier 1 Carnegie research institution in Collin County.
The Frisco Landing building was designed in a way to promote communication and collaboration. While UNT has had classes in Frisco for a few years, this will be the first four-year institution.
On the first floor of the building, there will be classrooms, workout rooms, and lounges. The second floor will house huddle rooms, a library, and a learning center.
Jeannine Vail, the senior project manager of the University of North Texas System, told Community Impact that the unconventional design represents a true transformation of educational practices — starting with the absence of professor offices for meetings.
“The idea is that you have class and you might have questions before or after, and you just pop into the huddle room with the faculty member and you start working,” Vail said. “Maybe you stay there as a student with your friends and you’re working on projects afterwards. That’s the goal.”
Students will be able to explore the Frisco Landing building this spring semester.