North Texas Daily

Athletic department unveils largest athletics-facilities campaign in school history

Athletic department unveils largest athletics-facilities campaign in school history

October 03
17:56 2018

University of North Texas athletic director Wren Baker announced the highly anticipated facility master plan on Monday morning. The master plan for North Texas athletics is the largest athletics-facilities campaign in school history and can be viewed at This plan goes into detail on what facilities Mean Green athletics are looking to build in the future. Baker said developing the plan was an 18-month research process to decide which facilities would be most beneficial to UNT student-athletes.

“Everything that we want to do, comprehensively, is put into place so we can help young people become champions and leaders both on and off the playing surface,” Baker said.

Mean Green fans, along with the North Texas athletics department, are hoping the new facilities are another tool to help draw in the DFW area’s top recruits.

“When we are trying to competitively recruit young people between the ages of 16-19, words only do so much,” Baker said. “They are going to judge your investment in their growth and development to the facilities they can see, or else every recruiter is saying the same thing.”

The plan starts with short-term projects, which includes a new soccer and track and field venue that will seat 1,062 people.

Track and field will be leaving their current practice facility at Fouts Field and will now practice at the new stadium, which is going to feature a brand-new green track surface. The facility will even hold a video board, which the current soccer stadium does not have. The soccer and track and field stadium will sit on the south side of the Waranch Tennis Complex on Walt Parker Road.

“I was super excited to find out we would be playing at a new soccer stadium next year and in the future,” sophomore soccer player Elle-Marie DeFrain said. “It will bring an intense atmosphere and a bigger environment to soccer games.”

North Texas has not lost a home conference game in 10 years and they have been dominant at home. However, North Texas has not been able to host a Conference USA tournament because the stadium did not seat enough. With the expansion of the new soccer stadium, North Texas will now be able to hold Conference USA tournaments in Denton.

“North Texas is such a big part of Conference USA soccer,” DeFrain said. “We have been winning a lot of championships, and with this new stadium we have the opportunity to host the tournament in the future.”

Other short-term projects include the expansion of the current Mean Green Athletic Center and the 98,000-square-foot indoor practice facility that is expected to be completely finished in the summer of 2019. The facility will include a 100-yard football field and running lanes inside the building.

“The next project we’d like to get done is the Athletic Center,” Baker said. “It touches all 300 of our student-athletes. We’re talking about strength and conditioning, sports medicine and academic support.”

To go along with the current projects, North Texas also has long-term ideas for building new facilities, including a baseball stadium for a potential program that has not been in place since 1988.

“There’s definitely a strong appetite for baseball here at UNT,” Baker said. “I want to bring baseball here.”

Baker also said that no matter how much himself or anybody else wants baseball at North Texas, he wants to field a team that can compete at the highest level in Division 1 baseball and a new facility could draw in some of the area’s top baseball recruits.

“I feel it is my obligation to field a program that could compete for championships if we added baseball,” Baker said. “We would need to have budgets, coaches’ salaries and facilities that are competitive with other institutions in Conference USA and in the area. I don’t want to start a program and fund at a level that wouldn’t provide a championship quality experience for some sport that we have today. That wouldn’t be right.”

The North Texas athletic department is also looking to improve the tailgating experience for Mean Green football fans. They are looking to create over 900 parking spaces that include restrooms, concessions and a turf area for game-day activities.

Another facility being mentioned is the new basketball/volleyball arena that would be located directly across the bridge sitting over I-35 East. It is supposed to include a 6,000-7,000-seat basketball arena, two practice courts and a 1,000-seat volleyball center.

North Texas is wanting to build a new softball stadium with a more convenient location and an indoor tennis facility that would include three tennis courts.

There are currently no timelines for the long-term facilities, but the project is supposed to be in use for 20 years.

“Just like the indoor practice facility, most of the money is donor-funded,” Baker said. “These other projects will only get done as donor interest and funds allow. The priority of which order we do them in will be largely dictated in donor interest.”

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Bronte Hermesmeyer

Bronte Hermesmeyer

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