Texas A&M System planning to open new research center in Fort Worth; aims to increase jobs

Regional News

Courtesy The Texas A&M University System Facebook page.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A new plan to grow business and job opportunities in “one of the nation’s fastest growing cities” is taking shape in Fort Worth, The Texas A&M University System announced in a press release.

According to the release, the Fort Worth government, along with business leaders and Texas A&M University System, are planning to establish a new downtown research campus in Fort Worth.

The Texas A&M System Research and Innovation Center is set to be constructed next to a new Education Alliance Building, which will host conferences and house professional, technical, and university courses offered by the Texas A&M School of Law, Tarleton State University, Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and other members.

In addition, the release detailed that the new center and new education building would form the center of a new urban campus with a new, state-of-the art law school at 1515 Commerce Street. The major project will begin with the construction of the Research and Innovation Center. An artist rendering of the building can be downloaded here.

“The A&M System is making a Texas-sized commitment to Fort Worth,” Chancellor John Sharp said. “Welcome to Aggieland North.”

The release added that the system has an area of land next to two major attractions, the Convention Center and Water Garden, that could become available for the new center. The city is also planning a convention center expansion, which means more hotel room and additional improvements.

An outline for the Texas A&M System’s Urban campus in Fort Worth was signed last week by representative of the A&M System, the city, Tarrant County, and Fort Worth Now, a privately-funded group that helps businesses and economic growth in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the release, results from the 2020 Census show Fort Worth has a population of nearly one million residents and is growing faster than any major U.S. city, but nearly half of the 1.2 million adults in Tarrant County, age 25 or older, do not have a college degree. The center explained that the research center will include programs in emergency response communication, medical technologies advanced manufacturing. nutrition, biotechnology, medical laboratory science, and nursing.

The release listed six Fort Worth employers that are wanting to collaborate on the new research center including, Alcon, AT&T, Bell, Elbit Systems of America, Lockheed Martin, and Philips.

The System agencies involved would be Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

A new law school will serve as the academic anchor of the urban campus.

The release explained that the current law school is in the former Southwestern Bell call switching facility that was converted for office use. The plan will renovate or rebuild the law school to provide an expansive educational environment.

Since the A&M System acquired the law school eight years ago, it passed Baylor University and the University of Houston in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking, according to the center.

Tarleton State University would be another partner on the project, as it has a Fort Worth campus along the Chisholm Trail Parkway and leased space downtown for nursing and other medical-related fields. According to the release, Tarleton would move its health-related offerings to the new campus to establish a closer location for medical students.

The plan signed that was signed last week is a “non-binary statement of the parties’ intention,” the center stated. This allows further discussion and planning in the coming months, with construction needing a series of approvals from the Board of Regents and additional approval from the Fort Worth City Council and Tarrant County Court of Commissioners.

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