FORT WORTH - Tarleton State University breaks ground Tuesday, Feb. 27, for the first building of its planned campus along Chisholm Trail Parkway.

The public ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. just off Old Granbury Road and the parkway on 80 acres donated by the Walton Group of Companies. The Texas A&M Board of Regents approved construction plans and an almost $41 million budget for the building late last fall.

“This is a watershed event for Tarleton, Tarrant County and the entire A&M University System,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “This state-of-the-art facility and future campus will stimulate job growth, spur innovation and improve overall quality of life for generations to come.”

At 76,000 square feet, the three-story, multipurpose academic building will enable Tarleton to work with business and industry leaders to expand current degree programs and add new ones, ensuring continued economic growth and development for North Texas.

Tarleton offers more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in Fort Worth to a diverse student population of working adults, community college graduates and returning students.

“A flourishing Fort Worth campus advances the academic mission and strategic plan for all parts of our university,” said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. “Tarleton was founded on the principles of access to education and opportunity for student success. These same principles inspire our commitment to the people of Tarrant and surrounding counties.”

Tarleton-Fort Worth currently serves approximately 2,000 students, with classes at the Hickman Building on Camp Bowie Boulevard and the Richard C. Schaffer Building on Enderly Place.

Projected enrollment at move-in for the first new building is 2,500. Depending on resource availability for additional buildings, the campus could serve 9,000 students by 2030.

Projections are based on Tarleton’s long-standing partnerships with Tarrant County, Weatherford, Hill and Collin colleges to create major-related transfer agreements, or pathways, for students to seamlessly complete their degrees, as well as anticipated population growth in North Texas and the number of students choosing to add a graduate degree for career development.

“As our North Texas economy rapidly evolves through technological advances, colleges and universities play an integral role in providing the answer to workforce needs through academic programs and training,” Tarrant County College Chancellor Gene Giovannini said. “Our institutions are leaders in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s economy while also sharing the values of academic access and opportunity. 

“TCC values the chance to expand our existing partnership so we may provide additional transfer pathways and opportunities for students at the new Tarleton-Fort Worth campus.”

Tarleton-Fort Worth’s number of 2017 transfer students—from 45 Texas colleges and universities—is up almost 41 percent from just five years ago. Its overall graduation rate for transfer students tops the state average by 10 points, placing Tarleton among the best for Texas public universities.

“When businesses consider a move to Fort Worth, they ask about the education of our workforce,” Dottavio said. “Tarleton-Fort Worth increases the options with a relevant mix of academic programs grounded in real-world experiences.”

In addition to innovative learning areas, common gathering spaces, offices and a large event area, the first building will include a one-stop shop for student services and a community counseling center offering assistance on a sliding-fee scale.

The Dallas global firm Perkins+Will is the architect and designer, and Holder Construction the builder.

“As the heart of Tarleton’s presence in Fort Worth, this first building is a nod to our rich heritage and bright future,” Dottavio said. “John Tarleton ranched in northern Erath County and had a large herd in the last decades of the 19th century. Our history parallels that of Fort Worth, and I like to imagine he was very familiar with the Chisholm Trail and had dreams of making education accessible and affordable to more than just the students we serve at our Stephenville campus.

“That’s exactly what is happening in Fort Worth.”