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UNT Dallas Campus to Become Four-Year School

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

Austin, TX – The City of Dallas will have its first four-year public university beginning next year. Governor Rick Perry has signed legislation that will allow the University of North Texas at Dallas to become a stand-alone campus. KERA's Shelley Kofler has details.

Some 2,000 juniors and seniors are currently enrolled at the UNT campus in Dallas' southern sector. The legislation signed by the Governor allows UNT Dallas to begin enrolling freshmen and sophomores in the fall of next year.

Dallas Senator Royce West says it's the birth of public higher education in the city.

West: Before we started this ten years ago Dallas did not have a public higher education institution. Dallas did not have a public law school. When you being to look at some of the urban centers around the country you see that one of the distinguishing features is their institutions of higher education.

The campus will receive about $2.5 million in debt service to begin constructing a second campus building.

The legislature has also given approval for UNT to open North Texas' first public law school in downtown Dallas. UNT is getting $5 million of the $8 million in start up money it requested to begin hiring a law school dean and staff. Still up in the air as of Wednesday night was whether UNT would be given authority to sell $40 million in tuition revenue bonds. The bond money would pay for a portion of renovating the old Dallas City Hall, which would house the law school. The city of Dallas has donated the building.