Tarleton State University broke ground Wednesday, March 23, for a second building on its 80-acre campus situated just off Chisholm Trail Parkway in southwest Fort Worth.
The $66 million Interprofessional Education Building will have more than 100,000 square feet of classroom and specialized lab space, Tarleton said in a news release, and will address two of the region’s most pressing needs: increased access to quality health care and education.
The colorful groundbreaking ceremony featured an array of dignitaries plunging shovels into purple sand (Tarleton’s official colors are purple and white).
The Texas A&M University System approved design plans for the IPE building in February, the release said, and move-in is set for 2024. Construction will be paid for with money from the Permanent University Fund; the facility is part of a systemwide capital plan approved in 2019 by the Board of Regents.
“Consider this a watershed moment for Tarleton, Tarrant County and the entire A&M System,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “This state-of-the-art facility will absolutely recruit researchers who will tackle the medical and educational challenges of our time. This is how we make a difference.”
The new building will provide expanded offerings in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, psychology, nursing, kinesiology, medical laboratory sciences and teacher education, the university said.
“The demand for health care practitioners and educators is surging, as is the interest in these professions among our students,” noted Tarleton President James Hurley. “Add in the investment of the A&M System and the Legislature, and we must step up to make our world a better place.”
The 87th Legislature appropriated $2 million in its regular session for Tarleton to develop occupational therapy, physical therapy and physician assistant programs; $90 million for Capital Construction Assistance Projects (passed in October) will help expand the Fort Worth campus and create a health sciences college with its own building in Stephenville.
“We truly appreciate our legislators and the city of Fort Worth,” Sharp said. “Together, we’re spurring innovation and improving quality of life.”
State Sen. Beverly Powell (District 10) said: “Today marks a big win for access to quality and affordable education and health care. The impact of this investment is far reaching and life changing.”
With enrollment topping 2,280, Tarleton offers more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in Fort Worth to a diverse student population of working adults, community college graduates and returning students. The university estimates that the campus could have 6,000 students by 2030 if growth continues as expected.
Projections are based on long-standing partnerships with Tarrant County, Weatherford, Hill, Dallas, and Navarro colleges to create major-related pathways for seamless degree completion, along with anticipated population growth and the number of students pursuing a degree for career development.
State Rep. Craig Goldman (District 97) said higher education opportunities are paramount when businesses consider a move to Tarrant County: “Having Tarleton in Fort Worth increases options and promotes North Texas as a vibrant community where businesses and their employees can thrive.”
“Tarleton is a forward-thinking institution, fiercely pursuing its mission to provide accessible, affordable higher education,” said Bill Mahomes, vice chairman of the A&M System Board of Regents. “Today’s groundbreaking brings us one step closer to building out this 80-acre campus for today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders.”
Perkins&Will is the architect for the IPE Building. Holder Construction is the builder.
Information for this article was provided by Tarleton State University.