UTA President James Spaniolo (L) and Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck (R) welcome students to the new College Park District. (credit: Chuck Schechner/KRLD NewsRadio 1080)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – While college move-in day may be routine at some places Monday’s event at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) is a major event.

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This is the first semester students are moving into the new 20-acre College Park District.

The halls were crowded at the new Vandergriff Hall and The Lofts at College Park. University President James Spaniolo even pitched in and helped carry boxes to dorm rooms, including Rea Bakshi’s.

“I was downstairs waiting for a trolley and my mom was like, ‘The president is moving your stuff!’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’” the student said excitedly.

Spaniolo says the opening of the two new residents halls moves UTA away from the old image of being a commuter school.

“We welcome and love our commuter students, but now we’ve got 6,000 or 7,000 students who either live on campus or right on the edge of campus,” he said.

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Vandergriff Hall will be home to some 500 students. The Lofts at College Park will offer apartment space for another 100 students.

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck was also on hand Monday to encourage students. The mayor said the College Park District is a great partnership between the city and the university.

“That’s why we helped them with $18 million to build this out and we’d do it again, because it’s really important to all of us,” he explained.

Overall the College Park venture connects residential space, retail businesses and parking garages on the UTA campus to downtown Arlington.

President Spaniolo explained it like this, “It’s like adding a campus, another campus to the university. It’s 20 acres. As you can see in walking around here, 20 acres takes up a lot of space.”

Much of what is now the new College Park used to parking lots. Monday, workers were still on campus, putting the final touches on the complex.

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Classes at UTA begin August 23. The official grand opening event for College Park District has been scheduled for the fall.