Campus Transformation in Progress

Throughout most of UT Dallas' 40-year history, the physical environment comprising the campus has been dominated by two basic materials: concrete and asphalt. In true Texas fashion, that look is being changed in a very big way. A $30 million campus enhancement project - funded largely with a lead gift from longtime UT Dallas benefactor Margaret McDermott - began last fall and is expected to be completed this spring. The changes are so extensive, the new look might make campus largely unrecognizable to alumni and others who have not been back for a while.

Highlights include nearly 5,000 newly planted trees and a dramatic circular entrance. The central pedestrian mall, which extends from the School of Management building to the McDermott Library, has been excavated in preparation for a row of six reflecting pools that will lead to an expansive plaza and fountain. Flanking the reflecting pools will be two rows of more than 100 magnolia trees.

[click images to enlarge]
Facing north, the view from the new circle entrance shows progress on the series of reflecting pools being constructed. The new Student Services Building, now under construction, is visible on the left.
Facing north, the view from the new circle entrance (above) shows progress on the series of reflecting pools being constructed. The new Student Services Building, now under construction, is visible on the left. Looking south (see below), Campbell Road is no longer part of the horizon, as a result of thousands of new trees in the Entrance Forest.
Looking south, Campbell Road is no longer part of the horizon, as a result of thousands of new trees in the Entrance Forest.

Creating a more welcoming environment will be helpful in the quest to attract top students, according to Curt Eley, vice president for enrollment management. "We know that the physical appearance of a campus can influence the decisions of potential students, as well as their parents," he said. "We already have a great academic reputation, so this project will only strengthen our ability to compete with the nation's top universities to attract outstanding students here."

Looking south from the entrance of McDermott Library, the base of the new fountain is a preview to the dramatic water feature to come. In the background, the addition to Founders Hall rises up. Along with this expansion, the building is also undergoing a complete interior renovation. Looking south from the entrance of McDermott Library, the base of the new fountain is a preview to the dramatic water feature to come. In the background, the addition to Founders Hall rises up. Along with this expansion, the building also is undergoing a complete interior renovation.
Anchoring the north end of the mall will be a new fountain plaza, highlighted by an expansive trellis. This structure will cover approximately one half-acre and will include a built-in irrigation system to support the growth of vines and a welcoming shaded area.

Looking south from the entrance of McDermott Library, the base of the new fountain is a preview to the dramatic water feature to come. In the background, the addition to Founders Hall rises up. Along with this expansion, the building is also undergoing a complete interior renovation.
Peter Walker (right) checks on the progress of the project during a visit in April.
According to President David E. Daniel, this entire project is symbolic of both the past and future for UT Dallas. "If it weren't for the vision of our founders, as well as the support of countless donors over the past four decades, we would most certainly not be positioned for the level of success we anticipate in the years ahead," he said. "This project will provide UT Dallas with a campus setting that is not just attractive, but inspirational to our students and faculty."

About the Architect

Acclaimed landscape architect, Peter Walker of Berkeley, Calif., provided the inspiration behind the design of this project. His firm, PWP Landscape Architecture, has designed signature projects around the world. Most notably, PWP won the design competition for the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center in 2004. PWP has completed other notable area projects including the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas and the IBM Solana in Southlake.
Mark Your Calendar

On April 29, 2010, UT Dallas will hold a grand dedication ceremony for the Campus Enhancement Project.

More details on this event will appear in future issues of The LINK.
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