Price hints at plans for higher education expansion in Downtown Fort Worth

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price speaking to Demetra Brown, Senior Director of The DEC Network, during opening of GEWFW on Monday, Nov. 16. screen shot from virtual event

A top-level research higher education institute is planning to expand in Downtown Fort Worth and hints are it could be Texas A&M University.

A new higher education project is taking shape in the central business district, Mayor Betsy Price revealed Monday speaking in a town hall-style forum on the starting day of the Global Entrepreneurship Week Fort Worth. The project’s plans are still murky as Price declined to offer any details.

Price, however, hinted that the project belongs to a Tier One university. Tier one, also known as Research 1, universities are institutions with “very high research activity” as listed by Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

“UTA is a tier one research university now, we expect to attract another tier one area here in downtown Fort Worth,” Price said

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“All of those options [higher education] will just continue to grow our entrepreneurship,” she added.

Although hesitant to disclose any transactions, Price did say the project will be an “expansion of an existing area

“We’re working with them to get it and we had a meeting with their Chancellor and the board system. We have some of them coming back up this week,” Price said. “It’ll be interesting to see where we go from here, I’d love to tell everybody but let’s wait for the surprise.”

There are currently two prominent universities in Downtown Fort Worth.

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The University of Texas at Arlington in Fort Worth, a satellite campus of UTA, opened in 2007. It offers eight different graduate and undergraduate degree programs, including an executive MBA program. Price mentioned UTA during her remarks but commented the expansion project would involve “another” university.

The other is Texas A&M School of Law. Currently located in four blocks in downtown, Texas A&M established the Fort Worth addition in 2013 after acquiring the space from Texas Wesleyan University.

Texas A&M, with its main campus in College Station, has long been exposed to speculation of expansion in Fort Worth.

In a November 2019 interview with the Business Press, Texas A&M School of Law Dean Robert B. Ahdieh said he foresees opportunities for major collaboration in a physical way on land the school owns.

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“We need more higher education in downtown. We need that for all sorts of reasons, but frankly, more than anything else we need it for economic development reasons,” Ahdieh had said at that time.

Price seemed to have a similar approach and might even agree with Ahdieh’s vision. Price was continually emphasizing the importance of education on all levels for families and businesses to prosper in Fort Worth.

Price discussed a variety of topics from tax credits to attract new businesses to resources available for the underrepresented population in the community at Monday’s event.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week Fort Worth is part of the global week-long series of events activities and competitions focused on fostering entrepreneurs. The annual event is taking place online for this year.