‘Aggieland North’: Texas A&M Plans New Research Campus in Downtown Fort Worth

Aggieland is headed to Fort Worth with what A&M's chancellor calls a "Texas-sized commitment." The proposed plan for the new urban campus includes the Texas A&M System Research and Innovation Center, the Education Alliance Building, and new law school.

The Texas A&M University System announced plans today to build a new research campus in downtown Fort Worth.

Officials are collaborating with local government and industry leaders to create a hub for research, education, and workforce training. The shared goal is to spur innovation, business development, and job growth throughout North Texas.

The Tier One research university campus will cost an estimated $250 million to build, according to reports.

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

Last week, representatives from A&M, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, and Fort Worth Now signed a memorandum outlining the details for Texas A&M System’s Urban Campus in Fort Worth. Fort Worth Now is a group dedicated to boosting economic growth post-COVID.

The A&M System already owns four blocks in the area, situated next to the Convention Center and Water Gardens. The City of Fort Worth also holds nearby property that could become available.

The proposed Texas A&M System Research and Innovation Center would be built adjacent to the new Education Alliance Building. Together, along with a new law school at 1515 Commerce Street, the projects would comprise what A&M calls the nucleus of an urban campus.

The buildings are expected to be constructed in phases, starting with the Research and Innovation Center.

The breakdown

Inside the research and innovation building would be a series of programs that involve A&M’s state agency network. They could be in emergency response communication, medical technologies, advanced manufacturing, nutrition, biotechnology, medical laboratory science, or nursing.

A&M said its system agencies involved would be the 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.

Six companies from Fort Worth have already expressed interest in future research collaborations: Alcon, AT&T, Bell, Elbit Systems of America, Lockheed Martin, and Philips. And, A&M said a startup incubator might relocate to the Research and Innovation Center once built.

The education building would be a designated spot for hosting conferences and teaching professional, technical and university courses from the Texas A&M School of Law, Tarleton State University, Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and other alliance members.

Tarleton State University, a member of the A&M System, already has a Fort Worth campus along the Chisholm Trail Parkway. It also has space leased at Baylor All Saints Medical Center for medical-related fields. 

Tarleton said it plans to move all health-related offerings to the new urban campus so students are closer to their clinical assignments at hospitals, clinics, and labs.

The third prong of the project is the law school, which A&M said would sere as “the front door and academic anchor of the urban campus.”

A&M’s current law school sits in the former Southwestern Bell call switching facility and a nearby leased building. The A&M System first acquired the school eight years ago.

The goal is to renovate or rebuild the law school to accommodate growth. This has been part of the A&M Board’s capital improvement plan for several years.

What’s next

The memorandum is a non-binding statement, but allows for planning to become more detailed in the coming months. Construction of the buildings would require approval from the Board of Regents. Key parts will also need approval from the Fort Worth City Council and Tarrant County Court of Commissioners.

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