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Talks move forward on expansions for a multi-purpose venue in Frisco ISD(Sept. 28, 2007)

At a joint meeting of the Frisco Independent School District Board of Trustees and the Frisco City Council on Wednesday night, September 26, both entities voted to proceed with negotiations regarding a public-private project with the Dallas Stars and its partners/subsidiaries to expand the DrPepper StarCenter into a multi-purpose venue.

The school district’s interest in the venue will allow for graduation ceremonies, convocation of all staff and other events to be held locally. Details of the public-private arrangement have not been finalized, but the public funds will come from the revenue generated through the Tax Increment Refinancing Zone (TIRZ).

Jim Lites, president of the Dallas Stars, presented the concept plans to the leaders with assistance from representatives from HKS Partners architects. Mike McCall of Schlegal Sports Group and Donnie Nelson with the Mavericks organization were also on hand.

Under this plan, the entire facility will be reworked, along with adding 25,000 square feet and 1,600 fixed seats, an escalator and a 1,000 car parking garage. The conceptual showed everything being upgraded – lighting, acoustics, video capability, and mechanics. Capacity would increase to 6,000 seats, including floor space. Lites stated that the project is estimated at $36 million and the timeline for completion is May 2009.

Architect for the project, HKS Partners, designed the existing StarCenter, Pizza Hut Park and was associated with the DrPepper Ballpark. A leader in sports architecture in the country, they also designed the American Airlines Center and are working on the Dallas Cowboy Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts Stadium, a soccer stadium in Liverpool, along with major renovations of existing facilities such as Dodger Stadium. Additionally, they designed the Garland ISD Special Events Center, where FISD currently holds graduation ceremonies.

In addition to school district needs, the venue will have the capacity to attract concerts, family entertainment, hockey, football and basketball, presenters stated. If the negotiations proceeded, it was indicated that a developmental league for the NBA, associated with the Mavericks, would be forthcoming.

David Weinreb, chairman and CEO of TPMC, also made a presentation regarding a potential 105-acre development at the southwest corner of Main Street and the Tollway with an 8,500 seat arena as its anchor. Under this proposal the $50 million arena would be the public portion of the project.

“We are pleased for the district and the community that we are moving forward with negotiations for bringing a true multi-purpose venue to the area,” said Rick Reedy, Superintendent of Schools. “Our parents and students want to graduate locally and we need a facility where all of our staff can gather at one time. We have been discussing the possibility of a public-private venture with the city for more than a year and it is exciting to now be making progress toward a joint project that makes fiscal sense and will be another shot in the arm to development in this area.”