Tarleton State University’s plan to build a campus in southwest Fort Worth hinges on a $55 million request to the Texas Legislature.

The money for the campus is included in a bill written by Sen. Judith Zaffirini that would pay for improvements and construction to the Texas A&M system.

Tarleton State, the North Texas Tollway Authority, the Walton Group of Companies and the city of Fort Worth want to build the campus on 80 acres of land west of Chisholm Trail Parkway near the end of Old Granbury Road.  The Walton Group donated the land. 

Harry Battson, Tarleton State's assistant vice president for marketing and communications, said that if the money is approved this session, the new campus will likely open in early 2018.

“Tarleton is very hopeful that the legislature will dedicate capital funds for higher education,” Battson said.

“The rapid growth in Fort Worth, the donation of land by the Walton Group of Companies and our work with the city of Fort Worth, as well as the North Texas Tollway Authority, show both the need and the cooperative partnerships that can make this project a great success," Battson said.

Tarleton State has been offering classes in Fort Worth for nearly 40 years. The university leases space in both the Hickman Building on Camp Bowie Boulevard and the Schaffer Building on Enderly Place.

The classes and programs in the Hickman Building would be moved to the proposed campus. However, Battson said the medical laboratory sciences program will likely stay at Enderly Place due to a long-term lease through 2030.

There are no plans for the new campus to include residential facilities.

“The new Tarleton Fort Worth campus will consist of one building that will include all the required academic, student service and administrative functions for a self-contained campus,” Battson said. 

“The expectation is that the new facility may accommodate the campus's needs until we approach 3,000 students," he said. 

Tarleton State currently has about 1,600 students in Fort Worth.