UTA, Tarleton have Fort Worth in mind

Two area universities are eying moves in Fort Worth so they can capitalize on existing relationships with Tarrant County College and make it easier for students who earn two-year degrees there to continue with upper-level courses.

“One of the long-term goals is to offer more in Fort Worth,” University of Texas at Arlington President Vistasp M. Karbhari told the Star-Telegram Editorial Board.

“I would love to have a building next to TCC,” he said, referring to the Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus downtown.

UTA already offers classes in a remodeled former railroad station on the eastern side of downtown. Karbhari said he hopes any future location nearer to the TCC campus would be an additional site.

Stephenville-based Tarleton State University offers classes in two Fort Worth locations — the Hickman Building on Camp Bowie Boulevard and the Schaffer Building on Enderly Place.

Tarleton has been given 80 acres in southwest Fort Worth along the new Chisholm Trail Parkway. University leaders have asked the Legislature for $55 million to build a 125,000-square-foot building for a new campus.

Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio told the Editorial Board the new campus would focus on students from Parker, Johnson and southwest Tarrant counties.

Both men stressed ways they work with Tarrant County College to ensure seamless transition for students moving from community college to upper-level courses.

“For us, TCC is our partner,” Karbhari said.

And clearly an abundant source of new students. Tarrant County College enrolled more than 57,000 students last semester, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

But will all this interest be too much?

“I don’t think we’re going to get to the point where we’re saturating the market,” Dottavio said. Campus locations will separate the market, and the coordinating board makes sure universities don’t duplicate degree plans or specialized programs.

None of this will happen overnight, but Fort Worth students can only benefit from what these two excellent universities say they hope to do.