All of us seek those win/win situations. Like when your insurance company offers a $100 dollar discount if you cease your use of tobacco. The result is a classic win/win because you are a healthier and wealthier person. But imagine if the insurance company could also make you smarter. Then you would be healthy, wealthy and wise and that would be a win/win/win.
I don’t think I have to tell you how rare the triple win is, and over at UTA they have been celebrating the 10-year anniversary of one. A decade ago the University converted a parking lot where an old convenience store sat, into the College Park District. Within the district is a residence hall, a 4.5-acre park, student apartments, several retail shops and the crown jewel of the district, College Park Center.
You might say CPC is the jewel of the campus and one of the many athletic jewels that adorn our increasingly beautiful city. James Spaniolo was UTA president when the building opened and recently reminisced about that joyous accomplishment: “I can honestly say that we would not have been able to build the College Park District and the College Park Center without the active support of the city and the community.”
Have you recognized the winners in this win/win/win equation? It is the University, the City itself and the Arlington community. I recently chatted with former Mayor and Arlington Today principal and contributor Richard Greene. When he learned I was writing about CPC his first thought was, this is a great collaboration between Arlington, UTA and the Baptist Church.
You see, First Baptist Church uses the CPC parking lot … a lot. In fact, a friend of mine told me that he parks at the CPC every Monday night for his men’s Bible study. A walk around the College Park District, even at night, feels peaceful, safe and clean.
Even as the citizens of Arlington stroll the campus of UTA the city appreciates more visibility because of so many events that the CPC hosts. All of those visitors spend money in Arlington and appreciate the magnificence of this arena.
Events include 20 WNBA games played there by the Dallas Wings. The Wings feel that their arena is as nice as any arena in the league, and several WNBA teams play in the cavernous arenas that also host the NBA team in those cities. To have the intimate 7,000 seat CPC, where the fans are so close, provides an atmosphere of energy and excitement not found in many WNBA cities.
Spaniolo recalls the thinking behind this win/win/win partnership. “The university is not an island,” he says. “It’s part of a big city and a growing enterprise of achievement and excellence.”
The key word there is “growing.” Enrollment has increased by 20,000 students in the some 10 years since the CPC has opened. Spaniolo calls the addition of CPC, “Symbolic of the growth and ascendency of the entire university.”
If you are old enough to remember the former home of the Mavs, Texas Hall, then you remember a unique place to watch a game. The court was set on the stage of an auditorium. It was like going to the opera and watching a basketball game. But with its sweeping aisles and upholstered seats it was tough to generate an atmosphere consistent with college basketball.
College Park Center delivers a sixth-man type atmosphere that is noticeable the moment you enter the arena. In fact the men’s basketball team has never had a losing record at home in the building. To wit, the Mavs have won a gaudy 70% of their home games.
If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and head over to the CPC, catch a UTA men’s or women’s basketball game. Or a WNBA game – some of the best female athletes in the world will begin their next season at the end of May.
If you do, chances are you will experience a personal win/win/win. That is you get a night out, an evening of raucous energy and enthusiasm and a home team win.