Trey Pomroy // Contributing Writer
Beginning this month, two parts of UNT’s master plan will begin with the construction of Rawlins Hall, a new honors hall and Gateway Park.
Gateway Park will provide an area of greenery and will extend the existing pedestrian path, beginning with the pedestrian bridge across I-35, to better connect Apogee Stadium and Fouts Field to the rest of campus. Avenue D will close from Eagle Drive to Maple Street and the new residence hall will be built between the Gateway Center and Clark Hall.
The first stage of the project was acquiring the Sierra Apartments located on Maple Street, next to Maple Hall. UNT bought the property at the end of February and the requested move out date for all residents was March 31.
“We did go through an eminent domain process, and the reason we did that was more for the rights of the tenants,” Facilities planner and project manager Janna Morgan said. “We had agreed upon a purchase price with the owners, and it was just making sure that, legally, we had done right by the tenants.”
UNT assisted with moving services, moving allowances, possible supplements if the new rent is higher and deposits for new apartments to make the transition as easy as possible, Morgan said.
Demolition of the apartment complex will hopefully begin this month, after abatement of asbestos in the building is completed, Senior Director of Housing Elisabeth Warren said.
Once the apartment building is gone, the portion of Avenue D between Eagle Drive and Maple Street will close and preparation of the area for Gateway Park will begin, Morgan said.
Construction of Gateway Park and Rawlins Hall
Rawlins Hall will be a second hall for honors students, primarily for freshman, because of a high demand for Honors Hall living space. The current Honors Hall only holds about 200 students and Rawlins Hall will add just under 500 beds to that number, anthropology senior Meghan Kajihara said. She is giving a student’s perspective during meetings regarding Rawlins Hall.
The new hall will have two to three times the amount of common space as most dorm halls on campus now, including lounges, study areas, a laundry area with a lounge in it, a kitchen with two of every appliance and a meeting room with a partition wall which can be made it into two rooms and a library space, Morgan said.
“The extra meeting room will be really cool because they have to be reserved and the one we have now gets booked very quickly,” Kajihara said.
Rawlins Hall will also have a large porch area in the back to provide a meeting place between Clark Hall and the old Honors Hall. The porch will have chairs and a large retaining wall to provide seating for students, Morgan said.
A porch area in the front will help lead into Gateway Park. The park will provide a pedestrian path connecting the Gateway Center to Maple Street and also provide some open area for students to hang out.
Plans are still being made for what Gateway Park will look like, but Morgan said they want to provide more green space on campus.
More information on Rawlins Hall and Gateway Park can be found at honors.unt.edu and in UNT’s Master Plan on the UNT System website.