NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tarleton State University To Build Fort Worth Campus By Fall 2017

Get ready for more purple and white in Fort Worth.

Tarleton State University announced on Monday that it received an 80-acre gift from the Walton Group to build a new campus next to the Chisholm Trail Parkwaysouthwest of downtown.

Next to the Sundance Square Christmas tree, against the backdrop of the Chisholm Trail mural, Mayor Betsy Price says Fort Worth is growing with another four-year campus, which is part of the Texas A&M University System.

“By adding Tarleton’s new campus, we will increase the diversity of options for our citizens,” Price said. “Tarleton brings the best value for students who start at the community colleges and then want to go on to a four-year university. Tarleton’s program is designed to be flexible, where students can go at nights or on the weekends ... [there are] great career opportunities for these non-traditional students.”  

The project has been several years in the making, says Fort Worth City Council member Jungus Jordan.

“What’s nice is now in southwest Fort Worth you can go from Crowley or Fort Worth ISD, or Southwest Christian or Trinity Valley … into a four-year college at Tarleton and come out with a degree that is meaningful for a quality job," Jordan said.

The new development, he adds, will provide classes to about 4,000 to 5,000 students.  

“We knew when we built Chisholm Trail Parkway it was going to change the opportunity of the growth, and we were looking for anchors," Jordan said. "We don’t just want development for development purpose. We want a purpose behind the development.”   

Six months ago, Jordan met with Bill Doherty, CEO of the Walton Group, a Canada-based real estate company that bought land next to the Chisholm Trail earlier this year.   

“And I walked out of that meeting, and I said to my colleagues, 'this is why Texas is so successful. They’re open for business,'" Doherty said. "Everybody has a can-do attitude, and if we could bottle this up and take this to other parts of this country, and Canada, it would just make it a better world. I really mean that.”

Doherty says the 80-acre gift to Tarleton is thanks to his parents.   

“My mother and father instilled in me and my siblings the principles of getting an education, of doing the right thing, of success, setting goals and making plans in order to attain those goals," Doherty said.

His group and its partners hope to secure $55 million in state funds for the school’s Fort Worth campus at Old Grandbury Road.

“Today we have the distinction of being the only public university awarding bachelor’s degrees in Fort Worth,” Tarleton president Dominic Dottavio said.

He says Tarleton’s history began in 1899, with a rancher’s belief that those of humble circumstances should have access to higher education. And that starts with core Tarleton values, Dottavio adds.

“Core values that not only have made them a good student during their time at Tarleton, but a great citizen of the world, both as community residents, and as employees of a business," he said.

Tarleton’s main campus is in Stephenville, more than 65 miles from downtown Fort Worth. The new campus, which could open in three years, will be just 10 minutes from Sundance Square.    

Doualy Xaykaothao is a newscaster and reporter for NPR, based in Culver City. She returned to NPR for this role in 2018, and is responsible for writing, producing, and delivering national newscasts. She also reports on breaking news stories for NPR.