A crane lifted the framework for a new 83-foot-tall clock tower into place Tuesday at Texas Wesleyan — a milestone that represents the beginning of an era for the 125-year-old private liberal arts university.
Community leaders had a ceremony Tuesday for the installation of the steel beams that form the skeleton of the tower, one of several projects expected to rejuvenate the entire area. The job took until about 2:45 p.m.
The clock tower is one piece of a $6.7 million project known as the Rosedale Renaissance.
“This is really just the beginning of the Rosedale Renaissance project,” Wesleyan President Frederick G. Slabach said. “Everything will be finished by this summer. … It’s going to really transform this neighborhood.”
The tower, once completed in June, will welcome students and visitors to the campus. A former parking lot north of Vaughn Boulevard will become a gateway into the school. Drivers will be able to enter the campus off East Rosedale Street and Vaughn and park in a lot surrounding the clock tower and a reflection pool.
“It is a huge win for the entire community,” Fort Worth Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray said at the tower installation.
Slabach said the tower’s height alone makes it a community landmark.
“The clock tower is going to be the centerpiece of a new front door for the university,” he said. “This is going to be an entryway to the campus that will have this iconic structure and will be a real beacon in the community — literally because it is going to be the tallest point in the community.
Wesleyan also bought several properties on the south side of East Rosedale. In the 3200 block, the old Polytechnic Heights City Hall and Fire Station will be renovated and a $3 million conference center for the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church will be added.
The renovated Polytechnic Firehouse will be the university’s art department. The renovation was originally going to house the university’s business accelerator project, which will now be in a newly acquired shopping center.
The shopping center, in the 3100 block of Rosedale, will also house the university’s counseling program, said Brian Franks, Wesleyan’s executive director of facilities development and operations.
The Rosedale Renaissance project architecture/planning firm is Bennett Benner Partners. Byrne Construction Services, the construction project manager, gave the university a gift of $10,000 on Tuesday.
The university plans, along with with city and street improvements on East Rosedale, are expected to revive the corridor. The roughly $12 million street makeover includes returning the street to four lanes and a median, and providing safer access for bicycles and pedestrians.
The makeover is being paid for by the city, Tarrant County, the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the Texas Department of Transportation.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675