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Education Tarleton Fort Worth campus closer to reality

Tarleton Fort Worth campus closer to reality

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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.

An academic and administrative building for the new Tarleton State University Fort Worth campus is among the projects included in the Texas Legislature’s authorization of capital construction revenue bonds totaling $3.1 billion in state education construction.

A bill signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, and authored by Rep. John Zerwas and Sen. Kel Seliger provides nearly $40 million to build the first structure on 80 acres along the Chisholm Trail Parkway donated by The Walton Group of Companies.

“This is a vital step forward for the university,” said President F. Dominic Dottavio, in a news release. “The Fort Worth building will enable us to open a new campus and better provide higher education opportunities for the area’s booming population. As the only public university providing bachelor’s degrees in Fort Worth, we are helping to fill the professional workforce needs of the region.”

Tarleton Fort Worth currently has more than 1,600 students in 48 degree and certificate programs, including education, criminal justice, nursing, social work and business, among others. With Fort Worth among the fastest growing cities in the nation, the number of students is expected to climb to 2,500 by the time the new building opens, possibly in 2018.

The new campus, at the southwest corner of the intersection of Chisolm Trail Parkway and Old Granbury Road, is planned as a part Walton’s Rock Creek Ranch development, which will create commercial, mixed use and residential spaces.

The concept for the new campus is to build on Tarleton traditions and create visual connections with the university’s Stephenville campus, according to the school. At the same time plans call for innovative spaces and new strategies for teaching and learning.

The concept plan is being developed by Austin’s Broaddus Planning, the same firm that created the new Campus Development Plan for Tarleton’s Stephenville campus.

Broaddus has been tasked with devising a campus plan and facility program for the first building at Tarleton’s new campus, a proposed 125,000 square-foot facility. TBG Partners is the landscape architect for the project. 

Tarleton is working on infrastructure for streets and utilities with Walton, the city of Fort Worth and the North Texas Tollway Authority. A north-south street will create access to the property while forming the western edge of the campus. A new on-off ramp from the tollway also is envisioned.

Dottavio said the university appreciated the help of several legislators in getting the bill passed, including Rep. Craig Goldman, Rep. Charlie Geren, and Sen. Jane Nelson, as well as the entire Fort Worth area delegation, “for leading the charge on this effort.”

Current Tarleton Fort Worth programs are offered at the Hickman Building, 6777 Camp Bowie Blvd. and the R. C. Shaffer Building, 1501 Enderly Place, Fort Worth.

“The fact that Tarleton State has secured approval to build a new Fort Worth campus in southwest Fort Worth along Chisholm Trail Parkway is great news,” said Fort Worth City Councilmember Jungus Jordan, who represents the location in southwest Fort Worth. “Access to high quality educational opportunities and institutions provides a strong anchor for great communities, strong economic development and a bright prosperous future.”

In addition to the approval of funds for the Fort Worth site, other items on the legislative agenda that will impact Tarleton include:

• An increase in the General Academic Formulas to fund enrollment growth, including a modest funding rate increase, which benefits Tarleton as one of the fastest growing universities in the state.

• Authorization of capital construction revenue bonds, with $54 million designated for an Applied Sciences building on the Stephenville campus as well as the $39.6 million for the first building on the new 80-acre Fort Worth campus.

• A special item allocation of $2 million for a Tarleton Center for Anti-Fraud, Waste and Abuse Research.

• An increase in funding for group health insurance premiums for higher education employees and retirees.

A video of the Fort Worth campus plan:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Ez1K31VLo&feature=youtu.be

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