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Tarleton State sees Fort Worth campus opening in January 2019

Star-Telegram, 2016/03/08

Tarleton State University has set January 2019 as the target date for opening its new campus in southwest Fort Worth, and the school’s president is expecting a big first-day enrollment.

“I expect our first building is going be out of space the day we open it,” Dominic Dottavio said Tuesday after talking about the planned 80-acre campus during a Fort Worth Chamber luncheon.

The campus, which will cater to students who have completed at least two years of community college and are seeking to get a four-year or post-graduate degree, is expected to have about 2,500 students.

Tarleton State’s Fort Worth facility is among several high-profile developments in the works for the Chisholm Trail Parkway corridor in southwest Fort Worth. The plans were discussed Tuesday during a Fort Worth Chamber luncheon at Mira Vista Country Club.

Tarleton’s main campus is in Stephenville, but the university already has a presence in Fort Worth, including a facility on Camp Bowie Boulevard. More students from Tarrant County are enrolled at all of Tarleton’s campuses than come from any other county, Dottavio said.

Road to development
The Chisholm Trail Parkway opened in May 2014, touted as a way to improve commuting not only for southwest Fort Worth residents but also those who live in Cleburne, 28 miles away. In addition to that mobility benefit, the toll road provides access to thousands of acres of undeveloped land in southwest Tarrant County.

And developers are moving quickly to make sure the area blossoms not only with a new public university but also retail shopping and a residential area that includes several thousand homes, a new elementary school for the Crowley district and a 75-acre regional park.

“This is going to be the place to be for the next 10 years,” said John Vick, regional president for Walton Development and Management, which is putting together some of the plans. “We’re 12 minutes from downtown. We’re near a school. Frankly, it’s easy for us to talk about this development.”

Walton’s 261-acre residential project is the first new development along the corridor. It includes about 1,000 new single-family homes and a new elementary school for the Crowley ISD.

The first 261 lots will be turned over to home builders beginning in April, Vick said after speaking to the chamber.

Walton also bought 1,755 acres from the state’s General Land Office in 2014. The land, known as Rock Creek Ranch, is south of McPherson Boulevard and will feature the Tarleton campus and ribbons of commercial development along toll road frontage, as well as residential neighborhoods set back from the road.

Some of the Rock Creek Ranch property must still undergo Fort Worth city annexation and zoning. But Vick said no major problems are anticipated.

Heavy lifting done
Vick said officials from Fort Worth and the North Texas Tollway Authority “did all the heavy lifting for us” by building the $1.4 billion toll road. The Texas Department of Transportation was also a partner in the road’s construction.

“A lot of times when we develop an area, we are warned about the traffic impact,” Vick said. “In this case, we are right next to a road that is already developed and under capacity.”

Also in the area, Dallas-based ShowBiz Cinemas will open an entertainment complex and theater that will include 10 auditoriums, 14 bowling lanes and a game room. That project is scheduled for completion in 2017.

This article originally appeared on Star-Telegram.