Dallas Olympic plans include NT

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS — NT professors and top administrators anticipate positive results and favorable outgrowth for both Dallas and the university if the city succeeds in securing the 2012 Olympic games.

Virginia Wheeless, NT associate vice president and special assistant to the chancellor, is the interim director of the University of North Texas System Center at Dallas, the prototype for an NT Dallas campus.

She said the future Dallas campus might be the location of a Dallas Olympic Village.

“The NT Dallas campus will start building in the spring of 2005 and construction will continue through the [Olympic] bid process to accompany both enrollment and the possible Olympic Village,” Wheeless said.

The United States Olympic Committee will choose a nominee for the 2012 Olympics in 2002, she said. But the international committee will not select the final location until 2005.

Wheeless said if the NT Dallas campus secures the Olympic Village, the university could clinch $125 million for construction from the Olympic committee.

She said the university would also profit from heightened Olympic media attention.

“The publicity might bring private awareness to NT, along with monetary support,” she said.

NT may be the site of Olympic games as well.

“International athletes will be on the campus for events like preliminary basketball games in the Super Pit,” Wheeless said. “Some may decide to come to NT, and NT students will have the chance to interact with international visitors.”

The attention to the future NT Dallas location also pleases Wheeless.

“We are finally being recognized in Dallas,” she said.

Olympic plans will also entice improved mass-transportation between Dallas and Denton.

Wheeless thinks Dallas Area Rapid Transit will extend to Denton, or Denton will build a commuter train to converge with the existing Dallas rail.

Although the location of the new Dallas campus remains uncertain, Wheeless said the location will be along Interstate Highway 20, between Interstate Highway 45 and Interstate Highway 35E.

Dr. Bernard Weinstein, chairman of the Institute of Applied Economics, welcomes the chance for Dallas to secure the Olympic bid.

“Even if we don’t get the Olympics,” he said, “the bid has generated a lot of coalition building between Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington.”

Weinstein said the event would also expand the need for a freestanding international terminal at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

He said Olympic games stimulate local economies and usher widespread profits.

“In Atlanta, the Olympic games signified both short and long-term gains,” Weinstein said. “The construction prior to the games creates jobs.”

He said taxpayers would encounter an insignificant monetary burden during the games. Taxes would pay for the increased police protection and trash collection, but little else, he said.

“There will be a tremendous amount of media attention for the city and our school,” he said. “The benefits, in this case far exceed the costs.”

Copyright North Texas Daily