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Texas A&M nearly doubles budget for first Fort Worth building

February 9,2023

See full Fort Worth Report article by Bob Francis here.

Texas A&M’s investment in Fort Worth is growing.

At its meeting on Thursday, Feb. 9, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved plans to expand the costs for the first building, the Law & Education Building, from $85 million to $150 million.

The increase is a response to unexpected demand for space in the building as well as an increase in construction costs. The board authorized about 225,000 gross square feet — an estimated nine floors to house programs in law, engineering, business and health sciences, among others.

“The reason for the increase in budget is because we have had so much more interest in being in Fort Worth than we anticipated,” said Billy Hamilton, deputy chancellor of the board.

The Law & Education Building will be the first of a three-building complex built on four city blocks in southeast downtown as a joint effort with Fort Worth and Tarrant County to spur business growth and economic development.

“It is the most enthusiastic reception we’ve received anywhere, including in College Station,” said John Sharp, chancellor of Texas A&M, during a news conference following the meeting.

Texas A&M’s law school, which has doubled its enrollment in 2019 to

about 1,200 students, will occupy about half of the Law & Education Building. The construction for that building will be financed with the Permanent University Fund and other system monies.

Groundbreaking for the building is expected in June.

The other two buildings – the Research and Innovation building and the Gateway conference center and offices – will be a public-private sector project built with city-issued bonds secured by lease payments from the Texas A&M System and private sector companies that want to co-locate with university and agency researchers, said Hamilton. Designs and plans for those other two buildings have not been finalized, he said.

Residents, students and leaders of industry and education are rallying behind the Texas A&M plans for Fort Worth, Mayor Mattie Parker said.

“Texas A&M sees what we see, which is that Fort Worth is where the future begins, and now is the time to go big for the Texas A&M-Fort Worth urban research campus,” she said in a statement.

In November 2021, Texas A&M announced plans to build a top-tier research campus on its land downtown — a development now officially known as Texas A&M-Fort Worth.

The planned research campus will include a high-rise complex that will house classrooms, labs, research and “maker” spaces that can be used by the public and private sectors for academic programs, workforce training and collaborative research.

The development is expected to impact Fort Worth for years and decades to come, according to city and county leaders. The university earlier outlined intentions to partner with several major corporations, including Alcon, AT&T, Bell and Lockheed Martin at the new campus.

In January, Texas A&M announced that Stantec will serve as the architect of record for the Law & Education building with design architect Pelli Clarke & Partners assisting with labs. Construction management teams include Turner Construction Company, CARCON Industries, Source Building Group Inc., and Dikita Enterprises.

Locations Mentioned: Texas A&M Fort Worth, Texas A&M University School of Law