ARLINGTON -- Two gifts totaling $1.75 million have been committed to support the University of Texas at Arlington's new College Park Center, a special-events center where the basketball and volleyball teams will play.
Alan Petsche and his wife, Bonnie Smith Petsche, both graduates of UTA, have committed $1 million to College Park Center. The university will name the new basketball court Petsche Court.
The Moritz family, which owns Moritz Dealerships, committed $750,000 to the project. The family's gift will be recognized by the establishment of Moritz Plaza, an area at the northwest corner of South Pecan and East Second streets that will be the main entrance to the venue.
"College Park Center will be a jewel among North Texas events venues for generations to come," UTA President James Spaniolo said in a statement. "We are honored that these business and community leaders have taken a leadership role in helping shape the future of our university and our city through their generous contributions."
The $78 million, 7,000-seat facility is still under construction. It will be in the College Park District, a 20-acre development with stores, student housing, green space and 1,800 garage parking spaces.
Alan Petsche said he has deep family ties to UTA and efforts to revitalize Arlington's downtown. He is retired as chief operating officer from A.E. Petsche Co., owner of Aaron Avenue Records in Arlington and the city's historic Candlelite Inn restaurant, which is being refurbished.
"I love the idea of the entire College Park District and that this new center will be at my alma mater," said Petsche, who earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from UTA in 1980.
Petsche, who has courtside seats reserved, said the project has brought a wave of excitement to UTA and Arlington.
"I think it will be a rallying center for students," he said. "I like the idea of having something that can boost school spirit."
John David Moritz could not be reached for comment, but he said in a statement that he supports the transformation of central Arlington.
"This is our home, and this project is important to our community," said Moritz, an Arlington resident. "College Park Center is the missing piece to really making a statement that downtown Arlington is back and that UT Arlington is a vital, critical part of our region."
The center is expected to open next year, with its first UTA basketball game Feb. 1.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675