FORT WORTH, Texas — Texas A&M-Fort Worth broke ground Wednesday on its first building for an urban research campus — a first of its kind public-private collaboration intended to boost the regional economy while anchoring an innovation district in southeast downtown.
The Texas A&M University System is beginning construction on its Law & Education Building, a $150 million, eight-story home for the Texas A&M School of Law as well as other academic offerings by Texas A&M University, Texas A&M Health and Tarleton State University.
The city of Fort Worth and Tarrant County are collaborating with the Texas A&M System to construct two additional campus buildings over four-city blocks owned by the A&M System. The second structure, the Research & Innovation Building, is where several Texas A&M System agencies will work alongside private sector tenants. A third structure, the Gateway Building, will house offices, more classroom and meeting spaces and a conference center.
At Wednesday’s event, it was announced that Lockheed Martin, a Fortune 500 company with a large aerospace presence in Fort Worth, is the first company to sign a memorandum of understanding to discuss jointly developing education courses, workforce training and research programs, including the possibility of Lockheed researchers working alongside the staff and students at Texas A&M-Fort Worth.
“It’s not often you break ground on one building while announcing potential tenants for a second building still on the drawing boards,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “It just demonstrates the commitment of the A&M System and our community partners to get this game-changer up and running quickly.”
John Goff, a Fort Worth developer who chairs the Fort Worth-Tarrant County Innovation Partnership, also reported several other companies are discussing roles at the campus but have not yet signed memorandums of understanding.
Goff said CEOs of Elbit America and Alcon, both Fort Worth companies, have assured him they will be involved with Texas A&M-Fort Worth.
Bridget Lauderdale, vice president of Lockheed Martin and a Texas A&M graduate who leads the company’s F-35 fighter jet program in Fort Worth, attended Wednesday’s groundbreaking. She spoke of Lockheed Martin’s ongoing research agreement with Texas A&M University and its new memorandum of understanding with the new Fort Worth campus.
“Lockheed Martin is proud to continue collaborating with Texas A&M University through this memorandum of understanding, establishing an additional talent pipeline of quality engineers in Fort Worth,” Lauderdale said. “Together, we will continue our joint, cutting-edge research to deliver innovative solutions for 21st Century security challenges, providing transformational capabilities in support of national security.”
Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare, representing the A&M System’s other partners in Texas A&M-Fort Worth, also spoke at Wednesday’s event.
“The Texas A&M System is building exactly what Fort Worth needs in this moment in our history,” Mayor Parker said. “This groundbreaking today represents countless future careers in law, medical technology, nursing and engineering, all of which are vital to meeting the need for a highly-skilled workforce in Fort Worth and North Texas for decades to come.”
Judge O’Hare agreed: “The Texas A&M System’s project will be incredibly vital to the long-term success of Tarrant County. It will bring in multiple high-quality business relocations to partner with the university and will enhance an already first-class downtown.”
Stantec will serve as the architect of record for the Law & Education Building and provide lab planning services on the project in partnership with the design architect, Pelli Clarke & Partners. The construction management teams are Turner Construction Co., CARCON Industries, Source Building Group Inc. and Dikita Enterprises.
The Law & Education Building will be completed by 2025, with the goal of completing the first three campus buildings by 2027.
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About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $7.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 24 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.
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