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Education New student center: Texas Wesleyan adds to 2020 goals

New student center: Texas Wesleyan adds to 2020 goals

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Texas Wesleyan University

1201 Wesleyan St.

Fort Worth 76105

Enrollment: About 2,600


Texas Wesleyan University unveiled plans Oct. 12 for a new $20.25 million university center that will give the school a centrally-located hub for student life and connect more closely with its community.

The 44,000-square-foot Nick and Lou Martin University Center, which university officials touted as the most significant capital project at Texas Wesleyan in more than a century, will be located in the heart of the campus.

The university is more than half way through its fundraising goal and the project is expected to break ground in 2018.

“The Martin Center takes the energy and activity across our campus and community and centers it in one strategic location,” Texas Wesleyan President Frederick G. Slabach said. “It is more than a new building – it will be the living, beating heart of our invigorated student life. A central place where students, faculty, staff, visitors and our community will come together to socialize, study and connect.”


The center is another step in Texas Wesleyan’s 2020 Vision strategic plan. Over the last five years, the university has nearly doubled its endowment, grown enrollment and invested more than $23 million in campus enhancements and improvements.

As part of that strategic plan, the city and the school have worked together on the Rosedale Renaissance project that revitalizes the Texas Wesleyan campus and the surrounding Polytechnic neighborhood.

Located between the Eunice and James L. West Library and Canafax Clock Tower, the Martin Center will be two stories tall. It will include a new student and family welcome center, a food court, a ballroom that can accommodate 300 people, a bookstore and convenience store, spaces for student organizations and student life offices, lounge areas, meeting rooms and additional office space.

The Martin Center will provide students and community members a centrally-located hub for student life and engagement, and a meeting space for members of the east Fort Worth community.

This fall, the university celebrated its most successful move-in day in history with more than 500 students now living in its residence halls. The revival of the football program, which will begin conference games in the fall of 2017, is another sign that the school is taking on a much more public persona than it has in the recent past. Texas Wesleyan has also been marketing itself through a series of humorous commercials that emphasize the university’s smaller size and the individual attention a student can receive.

The architect for the project is Bennett Benner Partners. The Construction Manager at Risk firm is Balfour Beatty.


The center is named in honor of Nick and Lou Martin of Fort Worth, longtime supporters of Texas Wesleyan.

“We were honored to provide the leadership gift to get the fundraising campaign started for this important new facility at Texas Wesleyan,” Lou Martin said. “We were motivated to make this gift to encourage others close to Texas Wesleyan, and those who believe in its mission, to provide support to make this important center a reality.”

Lou Martin is currently a member of the Texas Wesleyan Board of Trustees. Her family has been involved with Texas Wesleyan since the university was founded in 1890.

James B. Baker, Martin’s grandfather, served on the board of trustees from 1895 to 1912 and was instrumental to the development and advancement of Texas Wesleyan. Her father, Edward L. Baker, served on the board from 1945 to 1969. During his tenure, Texas Wesleyan earned accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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