FORT WORTH — After more than 40 years in Fort Worth, Tarleton State University opened the first building of its planned campus along Chisholm Trail Parkway with a ribbon cutting, tours and remarks from community leaders, legislators and Texas A&M University System officials on Thursday.

“This is a watershed event for Tarleton, Fort Worth, 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.

“Texas was built on cattle, cotton, oil and gas, but today we celebrate a new step in growing the Texas empire — the opportunity to empower our human resources with an affordable, high-quality university education.”

State Rep. Craig Goldman (District 97) applauded Tarleton’s commitment to education, calling it an extension of the competitiveness and community outlined in Fort Worth’s economic development plan. He lauded the school as the first public university to put down roots in the city.

“Today we celebrate more than the opening of a building. We celebrate John Tarleton’s dream, and we celebrate our commitment to Fort Worth and the students we serve,” Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio said. “As the heart of our presence in Fort Worth, this first building reflects our rich heritage and bright future. Our founder ranched in Palo Pinto and Erath counties in the late 19th century and hoped to make education accessible and affordable throughout the region. Today we extend our founder’s dream.”

The three-story, 76,000-square-foot building — crowning 80 acres donated by Walton Development — will enable Tarleton to work with business and industry leaders to expand current degree programs and add new ones, furthering continued economic growth and development in North Texas.  

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price called education the key to the city’s future. 

“As Fort Worth continues to see economic growth and attract new residents and businesses, we must provide greater educational opportunities,” she said. “Tarleton’s Fort Worth campus is a significant step in offering accessible and affordable higher education opportunities that will lead our community toward a better-educated workforce. Together, we will make Fort Worth the best place to live, work and learn.” 

Plans are for the campus to serve 9,000 students by 2030.