The football stadium at Texas Christian University (TCU), which swells in the fall with the purple-and-white clad students and fans who are better known as the Horned Frogs, soon will be sharing space with natural gas drillers.

The Fort Worth, TX-based university has signed a lease with Four Sevens Resources Co. Ltd. to drill for gas north of the football stadium in a remote campus parking area.

Drilling is scheduled to occur between January and July in 2008, 2009 and 2010 — after football season is over. Any funds secured through the gas drilling will be placed in the university’s endowment, a decision made by the TCU board of trustees.

“We invested major time and effort to negotiate a lease that satisfies our concerns and addresses neighbors’ concerns to the best of our ability,” said Brian Gutierrez, TCU vice chancellor for finance and administration. “As a result, we anticipate an efficient process from start to finish.”

Four Sevens was appointed the university’s gas operator by the executive committee of TCU’s board earlier this year following a request-for-proposal process (see Daily GPI, July 2).

The decision to sign the lease followed meetings with neighborhood leaders, faculty, staff and students to address their questions regarding safety, noise and traffic related to drilling, TCU stated.

TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said the “resources acquired through gas exploration will better enable TCU to offer an excellent university experience. This includes providing a campus where students live and learn in a diverse, technologically advanced environment in classrooms with a small student-to-faculty ratio. It also means more opportunities for scholarships.”

The average tuition cost to attend the private university for one year is about $8,800, according to university officials.

TCU’s decision to drill follows other Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex organizations that include the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County Community College, the Fort Worth Independent School District, Colonial Country Club and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

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