Richardson is known as the Telecom Corridor and is home to hundreds of high-tech companies.
Richardson is a principal city in Dallas and Collin counties in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2015 American Community Survey, the city had a total population of 106,123. Richardson is an affluent inner suburb of Dallas. It is home to The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and the Telecom Corridor®, with a high concentration of telecommunications companies. More than 5,000 businesses have operations within Richardson’s 28 square miles, including many of the world’s largest telecommunications/networking companies: AT&T, DirectTV, Verizon, Cisco Systems, Samsung, ZTE, MetroPCS, Texas Instruments, Qorvo, and Fujitsu. Richardson’s largest employment base is provided by the insurance industry, with Blue CrossBlue Shield of Texas’ headquarters located in the community along with a regional hub for GEICO, regional offices for United Healthcare, and one of State Farm Insurance’s three national regional hubs.
Settlers from Kentucky and Tennessee came to the Richardson area in the 1840s. Through the 1850s the settlement was located around the present-day site of Richland College. After the Civil War a railroad was built northwest of the original settlement, shifting the village’s center closer to the railroad. Richardson was chartered in 1873, and the town was named after the secretary of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad, Alfred S. Richardson. In 1908, the Texas Electric Railway an electric railway known as the Interurban, connected Richardson to Denison, Waco, Corsicana and Dallas. In 1910 the population was approximately 600. A red brick schoolhouse was built in 1914 and is now the administrative office for the Richardson Independent School District. In 1924 the Red Brick Road, the present-day Greenville Avenue, was completed. The completion of the road brought increased traffic, population and property values. The town incorporated and elected a mayor in 1925. In 1940 the population was approximately 740.
After World War II the city experienced major increases in population, which stood at approximately 1,300 by 1950. Throughout the 1950s the city continued to see growth including the opening of the Collins Radio Richardson office, Central Expressway, a police department, shopping centers and many homes. Texas Instrumentsopened its offices in Dallas on the southern border of Richardson in 1956. This was followed by significant gains in land values, population and economic status. In the 1960s Richardson experienced additional growth including several new parks, facilities and the creation of the University of Texas at Dallas within the city limits. By 1972 the population was approximately 56,000. Residential growth continued through the 1970s and slowed in the 1980s. Commercial development increased throughout the 1980s. Richardson had a population of 74,840 according to the 1990 census. Population increases throughout the 1990s was primarily from development of the northeast part of the city. The city of Buckingham, after being completely surrounded by Richardson, was annexed into the city in 1996.
Richardson had a population of 91,802 as of the 2000 census. By 2002 Richardson had four Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail stations and had built the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations and the adjacent Galatyn Park urban center, which has a 2-acre public pedestrian plaza, a luxury hotel and mixed-use development. Richardson was a “dry city” with no alcohol sales until November 2006, when the local option election passed to allow the sale of beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores. In the fall of 2008 Peter Perfect, a Style Network television show, came to Richardson. The business-makeover show remodeled SpiritWear, an apparel and embroidery store in the city’s historic downtown area. The episode first aired on January 22, 2009. It was the first episode of the series to be filmed outside of California.
In 2006, Richardson was ranked as the 15th best place to live in the United States by Money magazine. This ranked Richardson the 3rd best place to live in Texas. In 2007, the Morgan Quitno 14th Annual America’s Safest and Most Dangerous Cities Awards pronounced Richardson the 69th safest city in America. In the same study Richardson ranked the 5th safest city in Texas. In 2008, Richardson was ranked as the 18th best place to live in the United States by Money magazine. This ranked Richardson the 4th best place to live in Texas. In 2009, Business Week’s annual report on the “Best Places to Raise Kids,” ranked Richardson in 2nd place in Texas. Richardson was the first North Texas city recognized as a best workplace for commuters by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Transportation in 2004. As of 2010 the city has continued to be recognized every year since 2004. In 2011 the Texas Recreation and Park Society awarded Richardson with the Texas Gold Medal for excellence in the field of recreation and park management. In 2014, Richardson was called the “5th happiest mid-sized city in America” by national real estate website and blog, Movoto.com, based on a number of metrics, such as low unemployment, low crime, and high income. In 2014 Richardson was named America’s 17th Best City to Live in by 24/7 Wall St., based on crime, economy, education, housing, environment, leisure and infrastructure. D Magazine ranked Richardson Heights as one of the top 5 neighborhoods on the rise in 2014. Richardson ranked number 2 on SmartAsset’s Boomtowns of 2015. In August 2016, Safeco Insurance listed Richardson as the 9th safest midsized city in the nation based on overall property crime rates. In November 2016, The Dallas Morning News ranked the Breckinridge Park neighborhood as the 6th best neighborhood in Dallas-Fort Worth. In 2016, Richardson ranked 2nd on SmartAsset’s healthiest housing markets in American and 6th best college towns to live in. USA Today and 24/7 Wall St. ranked Richardson the 3rd best city to live in for 2016. 100.3 Jack FM ranked Richardson the 4th best place to live in Texas in 2016. Movoto ranked Richardson as the 3rd best Dallas suburb for young professionals in 2016. During August 2016, Richardson made Thrill-list’s “The 7 Stages of Living in Dallas”and was named the 3rd overall best real-estate market in the United States by WalletHub.
The cities of Dallas, Plano and Garland, Texas constitute almost all of the Richardson border apart from the municipality’s extreme northeastern “panhandle.”
The Lake Highlands area of northeast Dallas borders Richardson to the south, North Dallas to the southwest, Far North Dallas to the west, West Plano to the northwest, East Plano to the north, the city of Murphy to the northeast, Sachse to the east, and Garland to the southeast.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Richardson has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated “Cfa” on climate maps.
Economy and Development
Despite declining economies in other parts of the United States, from 2005 to 2009 Richardson had substantial increases in its economy. The city’s total assessed property value went up from $8.3 billion in 2005 to $14 billion in 2017. Sales tax collection went up from $21 million in 2005 to an estimated $32.9 million in 2017.
In December 2001, the Richardson City Council approved a development known as The Block (now Block 24) at the corner of Arapaho and Jupiter. It was the first vertical mixed-use development (ground floor retail, upper floor residential) in Richardson. By 2004, the Council had approved the city-initiated Spring Valley Station District zoning allowing/encouraging mixed-use development at the Spring Valley Station. Following the zoning change and The Block development, the city experienced a surge of mixed-use development, suburban infill and transit-oriented development, predominantly on the city’s eastern side. The Venue is a 4-acre mixed-use development adjacent to Galatyn Park, a DART rail station. Eastside, a mixed-use, infill development, is at the midpoint of two rail stations, Arapaho Center and Galatyn Park. Eastside Phase 1 is located on the southern corner of Campbell Road and Central Expressway. It features 450 apartments by Post Properties, 90,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 35,000 square feet of office space in addition to an 11-story class A office building that was pre-existing on the development site. The first development for Eastside Phase 2 is nearing completion. It is a multi-family building called “The Mallory” and has 280 apartment units. It is at the southern tip of the property and you can see it from Central Expressway. The second part of Eastside Phase 2 had zoning amendment approved late 2016 that allows the owner to either develop the rest of the property as all apartments (508 units), rather than as a mix of apartments and office (230 units plus 30,000 square feet office). Brick Row, a $200 million mixed-use development, is located on the northwest corner of Spring Valley Road and Greenville Avenue, less than half of a mile east of Central Expressway. Brick Row borders the Spring Valley Station and will have at completion; 500 upscale apartments, 150 townhomes and up to 300 condominiums surrounding the historic natural McKamy Springs. The Shire is a mixed-use center of 6.5 acres. The Shire II is an additional 10 acres. The former Richardson Square Mall has been redeveloped into an outdoor retail center. Other retail centers have been re-developed or remodeled including Buckingham Place, Buckingham Square, Dal-Rich Towne Square, Richardson Village, II Creeks Plaza, Richardson Heights Shopping Center and Richardson Square.
The city has won many economic awards, including DBJ’s 2006 “Best Real Estate Deal of the Year”, International Economic Development Council’s 2006 “Technology-Based Economic Development Award”, and Texas Economic Development Council’s 2007 “Texas Economic Excellence Award”.
Since 2008, both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s have upgraded Richardson’s credit rating to “AAA” from the previous rating of “AA+”. At the time, Richardson was one of only four cities in the state of Texas and one of 88 cities in the nation with an “AAA” rating from Standard & Poor’s. In 2015, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) determined Richardson’s daytime population to be 156,065 based on American Community Survey information. The economy remains rooted in the telecommunication industry. However, Richardson’s property tax base is deep and extends beyond its telecommunication roots to include other sectors including insurance, health care, technology and finance. The tax base is diverse with the 10 leading taxpayers accounting for 16.17% of total assessed value.
On March 1, 2014, the Richardson Fire Department will officially receive its Class 1 ISO rating. The Insurance Services Office (ISO) is “a leading supplier of statistical, underwriting and actuarial information for the property/casualty insurance industry”, and its rating is used to measure the quality and effectiveness of fire protection in a community. At the time, Richardson was one of only 56 municipalities in the country to achieve this highest rating, which tends to reduce property/casualty insurance premiums.
Shopping Center Revitalization
Richardson shopping centers are experiencing significant revitalization. Alamo Drafthouse opened its first DFW Metroplex location in the Richardson Heights Shopping Center at U.S. 75 and Belt Line Road in August 2013. Since then, several new businesses have opened in the center, including Cinnaholic-Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls, Haystack Burger & Barley, Taco Join, Krispy Kreme, Tasty Tails, Starbucks, Half Price Books and Skechers. In 2015, SPIN Neapolitan Pizza opened in Canyon Creek Plaza, just west of U.S. 75 and W. Campbell Road. The former Luby’s Cafeteria site in the shopping center was reconstructed to include Torchy’s Tacos, Tokyo Joe’s and Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar. Nearby, the newly remodeled Campbell Way Center has added a Mattison Avenue Salon Suites & Spa, a Palapas Seafood Restaurant, and in the same area, a 38,500 square foot Gold’s Gym is now open for business.
Galatyn Park Urban Center
Galatyn Park Urban Center was a catalyst project at the Galatyn Park DART station. Galatyn Park began as the product of an intensive public/private collaboration between the City of Richardson, Galatyn Park Corporation, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the Texas Department of Transportation, John Q. Hammons/Marriott Hotels, and Nortel.
Planning for the Urban Center began with a collaborative design charrette in 1997 involving these same stakeholders. By 2001, a DART light rail station, the Central Expressway/Galatyn Parkway interchange, the 330-room Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center, a 2-acre public plaza, and the Charles W. Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations had been completed.
Immediately east of the Urban Center is an 800,000 square-foot office campus. To the north lies an 8-acre wetland and woodland preserve. The wetland portion of the preserve was required as a mitigation measure for the development of the Galatyn Park area, but rather than simply meeting the basic functional requirement, the City chose to enhance the area by adding recreational, educational, and aesthetic features.
The Urban Center is also an activity node on the expanding regional network of multi-use trails that connects Richardson’s neighborhoods and employment centers with neighboring cities. The Central Trail spans the city from north to south, connecting Plano to the north with Dallas to the south along the DART Red Line right-of-way, and providing links to other trail segments throughout Richardson.
The AMLI Galatyn Station mixed-use development, completed in 2008, is made up of almost 300 multi-family residential units and nearly 7,000 square feet of retail space. Galatyn Park is also home of the one million-square-foot headquarters for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBS), completed in early 2012.
Brick Row is located adjacent to the Spring Valley DART light rail station, east of the rail line. The development replaced an aging 337-unit garden-style apartment complex and 18 single-family dwellings with a mix of residential buildings (170 townhomes and 577 apartments), along with 16,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. Additional improvements included the enhancement of the Floyd Branch drainage corridor, which bisects Brick Row, and the incorporation of the historic McKamy Springs into a public park providing recreational opportunities for Brick Row residents and the general public. Brick Row’s pedestrian environment includes wide sidewalks, street trees, and build-to lines (as opposed to setback requirements), which reinforce the interplay between structures and the people that use them. Two access points to the City’s Central Trail are available along the western edge of the development.
The development and the underlying Spring Valley Station District Planned Development zoning earned a 2007 Celebrating Leadership in Design Excellence Award for “Public Planning and Policy” from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
Eastside is a mixed-use, infill development located at the corner of Central Expressway and Campbell Road adjacent to the DART light rail corridor. Through the Central Trail, access is available to both the Galatyn Park and Arapaho Center stations. Until 2006, the initial 15-acre site was partially developed with a 211,000-square-foot office building and a multi-level parking structure surrounded by vacant property.
The first phase created an urban neighborhood, adding 436 multi-family units clustered around a public green space, a variety of restaurant and daily service uses and an employment center, all within a walkable environment. The pedestrian plaza that is the focal point for the development and the center of community activity connects to sidewalks and trails that facilitate easy movement within, around, and outside the community.
The second phase of the development began in 2016 and will add up to 788 additional units on a 13-acre site south of phase one. The first building with 280 units was nearing completion by June 2017.
Emerging near US 75 and President George Bush Turnpike on one of the last remaining greenfield tracts in the City of Richardson, CityLine is a dynamic transit-oriented development comprising a regional employment center; thousands of urban-style homes; extensive retail, restaurant and entertainment options; and a diversity of recreational amenities. Companies located in CityLine include State Farm and Raytheon. CityLine is woven together by a network of walkable streets and multi-use trails. CityLine is organized as two distinct districts—a compact, walkable urban core of approximately 120 acres and a more conventionally suburban periphery, about 80 additional acres, that buttresses the urban center while accommodating a less dense transition to nearby single-family neighborhoods.
CityLine components already built or under construction within a five-minute walk of the DART station include: nearly 2 million square feet of office space; a 41,000-square-foot medical office building; over 115,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; a 150-room hotel; over 2,000 urban apartment homes; and a 3.5-acre park and 2-acre civic plaza.
In addition, development that is completed or under construction within an eight to 10 minute walk to the DART station includes: 500 additional apartments; 32 single family detached homes; over 155,000 square feet of retail; over 1 million square feet of office; and a 6.5-acre civic open space.
Main Street/Downtown Redevelopment
A mixed-use development at the northeast corner of Central Expressway and Main Street was approved in January 2017. The 14.5-acre development will include residential, commercial and restaurant space. It is the first significant private sector development in the downtown area since the 2016 adoption of the Main Street/Central Expressway Form Based Code.
The project is bordered by Main Street on the south, Central Expressway on the west, Greer Street on the north and Interurban Street on the east. It includes the Chase Bank office building, which will undergo minor modifications under the development plan. All other existing structures on the property will be removed.
The Richardson City Council passed the Main Street/Central Expressway Form Based Code on October 2016, which established development standards and expanded the boundaries of the district, rezoning about 540 acres while making the area more walkable for pedestrians.
Spring Creek Nature Area
In January 2015, the City of Richardson purchased almost 60 acres of land from Galatyn Properties Ltd., which consists of members of the Margaret Hunt Hill family. Acquiring the four parcels of land allowed the City to more than double the nature area’s size. The nature area now covers about 100 acres near US 75 and the President George Bush Turnpike.
The Spring Creek Nature Area includes its namesake Spring Creek plus a mix of trees and walking trails. The nature area has also become home to several of the city’s Urban Naturalist walks each season. The park is located within easy walking distance of the CityLine mixed-use development, which is home to major State Farm and Raytheon office facilities, as well as thousands of residents. The City has completed the master planning stage for the expanded parcels of land, with the next step being the installation of a trail around the nature area’s perimeter.
Restaurant Park is a restaurant development on the west side of U.S 75, south of Belt Line Road. The project is a key component of the City’s reinvestment and redevelopment strategy for the West Spring Valley Corridor.
In 2012, the City purchased the Continental Inn, demolished the 1960s-era hotel and assembled adjoining properties to make way for the development of Restaurant Park.
Restaurant Park will feature up to seven restaurants with patio dining areas gathered around a central plaza that includes a large fountain area, numerous amenities, enhanced landscaping and a pedestrian portal at the back of the project to allow easy access for residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.
JP Partners, KBS Realty Advisors, and GE Capital joined together to begin development of a mixed-use project at the Palisades Town Central, an 80-acre development located on the west side of U.S. 75 across from the Galatyn Park DART rail station. The project includes single family homes, apartments, high-rise office buildings, (almost 500,000 square feet already existing), retail, restaurants, and a full service hotel built around a 4-acre park.
Northside at UTD
Dallas-based developer Wynne/Jackson Inc. and Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions partnered with The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) to develop Northside, a mixed-use project located on the north end of the UTD campus. Phase one of the development, completed in the fall of 2016, includes a 313-bed mid-rise apartment and townhome project plus approximately 20,000 square feet of retail space on a 13-acre tract. Phase two of the development will break ground in the spring of 2017 and will include 275 units and about 7,000 square feet of retail space on a 13-acre tract. Zoning approved in 2016 allows for up to 2,000 multi-family units, approximately 519,000 square feet of office space, a hotel and ground floor retail on 51 acres (inclusive of Northside at UTD phase two). Northside at UTD is being developed on land owned by the university that is bisected by the Cotton Belt regional commuter rail line. The Cotton Belt UTD station will be centrally located in the heart of the Northside at UTD development.
2015 City Bond Program
In November 2015, citizens approved a new $115 million bond program. The 2015 program includes $67 million for public buildings, including a new Fire Station #3 and a new Public Safety Complex, $38.6 million for various street improvements, $2.2 million for various sidewalk replacements, and $7.2 million for various park improvements, including renovations to the Senior Center and an expansion of trails at the Spring Creek Nature Area.
In the overall economic downturn or the late-2000s recession, Richardson has not been affected as adversely as some other cities in the country, Texas or even the North Texas region. In June 2010 both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s bond rating agencies reaffirmed the city’s “AAA” rating, the highest assigned by either agency. Of the cities that maintain bond ratings, Richardson is in the top 3.1% in the state and the top 6.8% nationally. The city has diversified its business base with financial service firms and has adopted a live-work-play approach to future mixed-use and transit-oriented developments. As of early 2011 local unemployment was still high by historical standards at just over 7%, but lower than the state and federal unemployment levels.This is down from the unemployment rate of 8.4% in August 2010 according to figures collected by the NCTCOG
MetroPCS, Fossil, Lennox International, Vent-A-Hood, Wingstop Restaurants, id Software, VCE, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, RealPage, Fujitus Network Communications (U.S. Headquarters) and Samsung Mobile have their corporate headquarters in Richardson.
According to the Richardson Economic Development Partnership’s listing on Major Employers (last updated March 2017), the top employers in the city are:
# Employer # of Employees
1 State Farm Insurance 8,000
2 AT&T Inc. 5,000
3 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas 3,100
4 The University of Texas at Dallas 2,674
5 Richardson Independent School District 2,500
6 RealPage 2,100
7 GEICO 1,800
8 United Healthcare 1,700
9 Raytheon 1,700
10 Fujitsu Network Communications 1,500
The city is located in North Central Texas and was originally incorporated in 1925, with the first Charter being adopted in 1956 and the latest revision made in November 2015. The community is a home rule city and has operated under the council–manager form of government since 1956. Richardson voters simultaneously elect six Council members and a mayor to represent them every two years. All Council members and the mayor are elected at large, with four Council members representing each of the city’s four districts. The City Council is elected for two-year terms on a nonpartisan basis.
The Charter requires that the City Council appoint a city manager to act as the chief administrative and executive officer. The city manager is not appointed for a fixed time and may be removed at the will and pleasure of the majority of the City Council. One of the responsibilities of the city manager is to appoint and remove department heads and conduct the general affairs of the municipal government in accordance with the policies of the City Council.
The City provides to its citizens a full range of services including police and fire protection, emergency ambulance service, water and sewer service, solid waste disposal, park and recreational activities, cultural events, and a library. In addition, the City provides planning for future land use, traffic control, building inspection, and community services and operates two 18-hole golf courses. The City also operates the Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations, which is a multi-venue performing arts and presentation center.
The City of Richardson is a voluntary member of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) association, the purpose of which is to coordinate individual and collective local governments and facilitate regional solutions, eliminate unnecessary duplication, and enable joint decisions.
U.S. Decennial Census
As of the 2015 American Community Survey, there were 106,123 people, 40,020 households, and 27,327 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,213.9 people per square mile (1,241.1/km2). There were 36,530 housing units at an average density of 1,278.9 per square mile (493.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 67.0% White, 15.7% Asian, 8.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 4.3% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.9% of the population.
There were 40,020 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.2 years. For every 100 females there were 99.7 males.
In the 2015 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates males had a median income of $60,709 versus $50,404 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,551. About 5.7% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.
According to a 2015 estimate, the median income for a family in Richardson was $72,427 and a median home price of $198,900.
By 1990 10% of the Richardson population was not born in the United States, which increased to 18.1% in 2000. According to the 2015 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates, this figure is now 24.3%. As of 2015, of those not born in the United States, almost 50% had arrived in the United States after 2000.
The D-FW China Town is located in Richardson, in part because of the large Asian population.
Esther Wu, a former editor of the Dallas Morning News, stated that Chinese immigration began in Richardson in 1975. Since then the Chinese community has expanded to the north. In the mid-1980s the majority of ethnic Chinese K-12 students in the DFW area resided in Richardson.
As of 2012 North Texas has over 60 Chinese cultural organizations and most of them are headquartered in Richardson and Plano. The Dallas Chinese Community Center is in the D-FW Chinatown. It includes English as a second language (ESL) classes and 20,000 books written in Traditional Chinese; the center imported some books from Taiwan. As of 2011 the Chinese restaurants catering to ethnic Chinese in DFW are mainly in Richardson and Plano. The University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson, as of 2012, has almost 1,000 Chinese students. The university has a program to recruit students of Chinese origin.
Richardson’s Asian Indian immigrant community has been primarily driven by the international telecommunications industry that is so prevalent in the community. Their town is known as Little India. The India Association of North Texas headquarters are in Richardson. Indo-Pak grocery store is located in an Indian-oriented strip shopping center east of Central Expressway. Of the suburbs in the DFW area, Richardson had one of the earliest Indian settlements.
Richardson possesses a large amount of Vietnamese Americans and even has a significant amount of Vietnamese catering retail stores, malls, markets, and Plazas. Such as the Hong Kong Market, The Cali Saigon Shopping Mall, and the India Bazaar. All located near Highway 75 (Texas).
UT Dallas Student Services Building – A LEED Platinum Building
The University of Texas at Dallas, also referred to as UT Dallas or UTD, is a public research university in the University of Texas System. Despite its name the UT Dallas main campus, consisting of approximately 445 acres, is within the Richardson city limits at 800 West Campbell Road. The campus is sited with Campbell Road on the south, Floyd Road on the east, Waterview on the west, and Synergy Park Boulevard on the north. The university owns an additional 265 acres in Richardson, adjacent to the campus, between Synergy Park Boulevard and the President George Bush Turnpike. The UTD Student Services building, completed in 2010, is the first academic structure in Texas to be rated a LEED Platinum facility by the United States Green Building Council. During 2016, construction was completed on the Student Services Building addition. New projects include an Alumni Center, a Brain Performance Institute and an engineering building as well as additional housing options. These enhancements are part of a campus renovation that has included hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in new and upgraded buildings since 2009. For the fall 2016 semester, UT Dallas had a total of 26,793 enrolled students.
Richland College is a community college that is part of the Dallas County Community College District or DCCCD. The college is in Dallas on the Richardson border. It is the largest school in the DCCCD, featuring nearly 20,000 students. In 2005, Richland became the first community college to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Residents within Collin County are in the zone of Collin College.
The city is served by the Richardson Independent School District (RISD) within the Dallas County portion of the city and the Plano Independent School District (PISD) within the Collin County portion of the city.
The RISD and PISD have many Blue Ribbon Schools.The Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a United States government program created to honor schools. The Blue Ribbon award is considered to be the highest honor that an American school can achieve.
Zoned RISD high schools in Richardson include Richardson High School, Lloyd V. Berkner High School, and J.J. Pearce High School. The Christa McAuliffe Learning Center is also in Richardson. Lake Highlands High School is part of the Richardson Independent School District but is located in Lake Highlands, an area in Dallas just south of Richardson.
Sections of Richardson in the Plano Independent School District are served by several schools. Aldridge, Miller, Schell, and Stinson elementary schools are within Richardson and serve Collin County portions of Richardson. A section of Collin County Richardson is zoned to Mendenhall Elementary School in Plano. Otto and Wilson middle schools in Plano and Murphy Middle School in Murphy serve separate sections of Collin County Richardson. Vines High School and T.H. Williams High School, 9-10 schools in Plano, serve separate sections of Collin County Richardson, along with McMillen High School in Murphy. Plano Senior High School and Plano East Senior High School also serve separate sections of Collin County Richardson.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas operates two K-8 schools, St. Joseph School and St. Paul the Apostle School, in Richardson. Other private schools include Canyon Creek Christian Academy (K-12), North Dallas Adventist Academy (K-12), IANT Quranic Academy (K-12), The Alexander School (8-12), Dallas North Montessori School (ages 3–9), and Salam Academy (K-12).
Four charter schools operate within the City of Richardson. These include the Evolution Academy Charter School (9-12), Premier High School of Richardson (6-12), Vista Academy of Richardson (K-12), and the Winfree Academy Charter School (Richardson) (9-12).
The Richardson Public Library is located at 900 Civic Center Drive at the southwest corner of U.S. Route 75 (North Central Expressway) and Arapaho Road.
The roots of the Richardson Public Library date back to 1947 when a branch of the Dallas County Library was established in a section of the Cash Dry Goods store on East Main Street in downtown Richardson. The fledgling library collection numbered about 400 volumes and was managed by Jessie Durham the store’s proprietor. The City Council established the library as a city department in 1958 and in 1959 the library moved into a newly constructed building at 310 Tyler Street. This new library was just under 6,000 square feet in size and was built at a cost of $100,000.
Richardson was experiencing rapid growth in the 1960s and 1970s, and the library facility soon became inadequate for community needs. The current facility was constructed at a cost of $2 million and opened December 1, 1970. The new 81,650-square-foot (7,586 m2), four-story building opened with the use of two floors and a small portion of a third. The basement was finished in 1980 for the reference collection and services. In 1995 the library underwent another expansion which finished the upper floor and renovated the three previously opened floors. Another renovation occurred in 2006 when the Youth Services department was expanded.
In 2008 the library set a new record for the number of items circulated in a fiscal year when the 1 millionth item was checked out in the fall of 2008. The building has undergone building renovations and technological improvements in recent years that have enhanced the library experience for patrons. Since 2014, the digital library has expanded to include movies, music and magazines as well as books and audiobooks. In 2015, the Richardson Library established a “makerspace” that initially included a 3-D printer, designated computers with creative applications and software, and kits for the early exploration of electronics.
The Texas Municipal League recognized the library with its “Achievement of Excellence in Libraries” award every year from 2004 to 2016.
Richardson and the region benefit from the location of two major highways in the city. The President George Bush Turnpike, running east-west along the northern border of the city, provides a convenient connection to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, as well as links to IH 35E, IH 30, IH20, SH 114, and SH 183 west of the city as well as a second link to IH30 east of the city.
Richardson also benefits from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Light Rail line which parallels U.S. 75 and has four stations in the city. In October 2016, DART approved the future construction of the Cotton Belt Commuter Rail Line with the adoption of its 20-Year Financial Plan. Service on the Cotton Belt is projected to commence in 2022. The Cotton Belt line will run from DFW Airport to the eastern side of Plano, with Richardson stations located at The University of Texas at Dallas and CityLine. The Cotton Belt rail line will also connect to Fort Worth’s TEXRail Line, which is being developed to connect downtown Fort Worth to the DFW Airport. In order to take full advantage of these transportation assets for development and redevelopment purposes, the City has implemented three Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts. TIF District #1 was established in November 2006, encompassing both sides of the U.S. 75 corridor from Campbell Road south to Spring Valley Road, and then extending west from U.S. 75 along Spring Valley Road to Coit Road. TIF District #2, established in November 2011, is bounded by President George Bush Turnpike on the north, Wyndham Lane on the east, Renner Road on the south, and the DART Light Rail line on the west. TIF District #3, established in November 2011, is bounded by President George Bush Turnpike on the north, the DART Light Rail line on the east, Renner Road on the South and has its western boundary between Alma Road and U.S. 75. Dallas County participates financially in TIF District #1 and Collin County participates financially in TIF District #2 and TIF District #3.
The southern Central Trail extension, opened in June 2014 and the northern extension opened in 2015. The new hike and bike trail segments mean that the central spine to Richardson’s trail network will run from city limit to city limit, eventually connecting to trails throughout the region.
In July 2015, Richardson was named a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Richardson has a long-range plan to provide bicycle facilities and to designate preferred bicycle routes on lower-volume, lower-speed roadways. There are now more than 15 miles of bike lanes in Richardson.