New Tarleton Fort Worth campus could have second building as early as 2021

Tarleton rendering

Just a few days after opening its new Fort Worth campus, Tarleton State University could begin constructing a second building at its new Fort Worth campus as early as 2021.

On Thursday, the Texas A&M University System approved $63 million for the project. Private funding will cover the remaining $7 million.

A&M System dollars will come from the Permanent University Fund and are part of a $2.9 billion systemwide capital plan approved today by the Board of Regents.

“You ain’t seen nothing yet, Fort Worth,” A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp said at last week’s ribbon cutting for Tarleton’s first building at its new location along Chisholm Trail Parkway. “This campus will grow like a weed. That’s because it’s located in the very center of growth.

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“This second building is a testament to the continued commitment of the A&M System and Tarleton to provide an accessible, affordable higher education to students throughout Fort Worth, Tarrant County and North Texas. I congratulate our Board of Regents in making it a priority for our 2021 capital plan.”

Expressing gratitude to the A&M System, Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio called the Fort Worth campus the beginning of a new era in the school’s storied history. “The need for a full-fledged public university in Fort Worth is clear, and thanks to the support of the A&M System Board of Regents, we’re stepping up to meet it.”

The second building will frame formal and informal quads that will provide general classroom and lab spaces for programs offered by Tarleton’s College of Education and its School of Kinesiology as well as areas for study, relaxation and recreation.

While some of the programs are currently available in Fort Worth, others are planned. They will all find a permanent home in Building 2.

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A new Child Development Center will help meet the growing demand for quality Pre-K programs in the greater Fort Worth area, providing learning spaces for children ages 18 months to 5 years and giving future teachers real-world experience.

Tarleton will work at the second building with Tarrant County elementary schools to provide after-school programs in literacy, English as a second language and STEM. Psychological assessment and treatment for children will be part of the Child Well-Being Center. The state-of-the-art Learning Resource Center will introduce emerging educational technologies to future teachers.

“We at The Texas A&M University System know that teachers and quality education at all levels are paramount to sustain our growing state economy and help young people reach their dreams. This creates a well-educated workforce and improves quality of life for everyone,” said Board of Regents Chairwoman Elaine Mendoza. “We also know that higher education institutions like Tarleton prepare educators — a responsibility we take seriously. It is only fitting that we help fund a second building at Tarleton’s Fort Worth campus to ensure that high-quality, committed teachers fill North Texas classrooms.”

Building 2 will house two School of Kinesiology labs — the Laboratory for Wellness and Motor Behavior and the Clinical Exercise Research Facility — that will provide true-to-career learning opportunities for students and rehabilitative and therapeutic services to residents. Psychological sciences labs will enable research by faculty and students.

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The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents also honored Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio with the title President Emeritus. He is stepping down Aug. 31 after 11 years as the 15th president of Tarleton State University.

The title of President Emeritus is reserved for individuals who have made significant contributions to the A&M System through long and distinguished service in administration while holding the position of president.

“Dominic Dottavio is one of the best presidents of any university in the state,” said Sharp. “He has given us more than a decade of exceptional service and leadership, inspiring, encouraging and engaging others to do more and become more. Dominic is an influential and enthusiastic leader.

“Tarleton’s transformation over the past decade is evidence of his passion for higher education and his commitment to helping students realize their academic dreams. I applaud our Board of Regents in naming Dr. Dottavio as President Emeritus.”

Also on Thursday, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents named Dr. James Hurley as sole finalist to be Tarleton State University’s 16th president after a nationwide search.

Hurley comes to Tarleton from Tusculum University in Greeneville, Tennessee, where he has served as president since 2017. Tusculum is the oldest university in the state, celebrating 225 years of education.

Hurley begins his duties as president Sept. 1. As required by law, the board may take final action on the hiring after the 21-day notice is given.