By Josh Bowe for utamavs.com
March 5, 2010
ARLINGTON - Texas - For UT Arlington President James Spaniolo, this was a day long overdue for the university and its patrons.
Spaniolo, along with Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and other members of the city of Arlington, broke ground on the new special events center Friday afternoon in front of a large crowd of alumni, students and friends.
"Some of you who have been here a lot longer than I have been have reminded me that you would believe when you saw the dirt turn," Spaniolo said of the events center. "Well today we're going to dig the first shovel of dirt and we're building this center."
The center, located between South Center and South Pecan streets in the northeast corner of campus, will be a state-of-the-art facility that will seat up 6,500 people. The center will be the new home of UTA men's and women's basketball, along with volleyball.
In addition to housing athletic events, the center will also be used to lure big name guest speakers and entertainers to downtown Arlington. Mayor Cluck said the commencement of this project means much more than just the school, but the entire city.
"This is indeed a special day for everyone who lives in Arlington," Cluck said. "I have great aspirations for this special event building. It's going to help us with the development of downtown Arlington."
Marquez Haynes, senior guard on the men's basketball team, said he can't wait to see the new venue. Even though he won't be wearing a Maverick uniform the first time he'll step onto the new court, he's excited for what the future holds for the program.
"Although this is my last season at UTA, I look forward to coming back and watching the first game at the special events center," Haynes said. "We'll be able to bring bigger opponents to campus and it will also bring top recruits to campus to help the UT Arlington basketball team be a powerhouse for years to come."
The journey to this day has been long and strenuous. Spaniolo said this center has been in talks for over a decade. The University of Texas System Board of Regents finally gave an approval on November 12, 2009.
The center will cost roughly $78 million to when its finished in 2012. A price Spaniolo said is well worth it.
"The future of Arlington is the future of UT Arlington," Spaniolo said. "This is the place to be. Believe me, this is the place to be in Arlington.
"We're breaking ground on more than a building. We're really breaking ground on the next chapter of history at UT Arlington. "
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