The new campus Tarleton State University in Fort Worth achieved a milestone Friday, Oct. 12, when contractors, school officials, legislators and architects celebrated the midpoint of construction and marked almost 118,000 hours without a time-loss injury.
The three-story, 76,000-square-foot building is set to open in fall 2019 on 80 acres, donated by the Walton Group of Companies, along Chisholm Trail Parkway. Holder Construction is the builder, and the global Dallas-based firm Perkins+Will is the architect and designer.
“This is an extraordinarily important effort for Tarleton,” President F. Dominic Dottavio told those at the event. “As the heart of our presence in Fort Worth, this first building is a nod to our rich heritage and bright future. Our founder had dreams of making education accessible and affordable. Now we have an opportunity to extend that dream to even more students in Fort Worth, Tarrant County and the Metroplex.
“Today is not just about erecting a building. It is about Tarleton’s commitment to Fort Worth and the students we serve.”
Tarleton came to Fort Worth in 1978 with eight students on West Myrtle Street, moved to the Richard C. Schaffer Building on Enderly Place in the ’90s, and expanded to the Hickman Building on Camp Bowie Boulevard in 2006.
Tarleton serves approximately 2,000 North Texans, offering more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs to working adults, community college graduates and returning students.
Estimated enrollment at move-in for the first Fort Worth building is 2,500. Depending on resources for additional buildings, the campus could serve 9,000 students by 2030.
Projections are based on long-standing partnerships with Tarrant County, Weatherford, Hill, Navarro and Collin colleges to create major-related pathways for seamless degree completion, along with anticipated population growth in North Texas and the number of students choosing to add a graduate degree for career development.
“After a 40-year presence in Fort Worth, Tarleton is putting down permanent roots in Tarrant County. We could not be more proud,” Dottavio said. “And it is an honor to share this construction celebration with those who are helping make our Fort Worth campus possible — our elected officials, the Walton Group of Companies, Holder Construction and Perkins+Will.”
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, said higher education opportunities are paramount when businesses consider a move to Tarrant County. “Having Tarleton in Fort Worth increases the options and promotes North Texas as an innovative and vibrant region where businesses and their employees can succeed. I am excited for this next chapter and look forward to watching this university grow.”
State Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, applauded Tarleton’s determination to educate, calling it a reflection of the competitiveness and community outlined in Fort Worth’s economic development plan and congratulating the school as the first public university to put down roots in the city.
“As the first public university in Fort Worth to offer undergraduate degrees, Tarleton is helping sustain our reputation as one of the best places in America to live, work and raise a family,” said state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth. “Now with a place in Fort Worth to truly call its own, Tarleton is poised to take opportunities for public higher education to the next level.”
In the coming legislative session, Tarleton — with the support of The Texas A&M University System — will seek additional funding to support the growth and development of the Chisholm Trail property.
At this spring’s groundbreaking, John Vick, executive vice president of Walton Global Holdings Ltd., talked about how Tarleton’s dream for a home of its own came true. “It takes a vision. People willing to take a chance. Commitment and perseverance,” he said.
“Someone recently asked why we donated the best 80 acres along Chisholm Trail Parkway to Tarleton. The answer is simple. It’s right where Tarleton belongs.”