Tarleton State University broke ground this morning for a $110 million, two-story multipurpose arena that will sport NCAA Division I basketball facilities and room for academic convocations, symposiums, conferences and conventions.
The Texas A&M System approved the budget and construction in May, with move-in set for 2025. Construction dollars come from Revenue System Financing bonds and are part of Tarleton’s capital plan approved by the Board of Regents.
“As a comprehensive national university, we have a moral and social obligation to deliver an outstanding student experience while simultaneously spurring community prosperity and enhancing economic opportunity,” said Tarleton State President Dr. James Hurley. “With this new facility, we’re doing just that.”
Dr. Hurley said students and community members started talking about the need for an Event Center the moment he and his family arrived in fall 2019. “Thanks to the unwavering support of Chancellor Sharp and the A&M System Regents, this long-awaited dream is now a reality. The center will be a point of pride for the entire region and will bring national acclaim to Tarleton State University.”
Seating nearly 10,000 for concerts and up to 8,000 for basketball games, the center will provide a permanent indoor home for convocations and commencements, and the city of Stephenville will enjoy increased income from community and regional events.
“It’s one thing to talk about it, but today it’s happening,” Chancellor John Sharp said. “The shovels are in the ground. You’re going to see dirt turning here in no time, and before you know it, we’ll have the finest arena west of the DFW Metroplex. This is truly a great day for Tarleton State University, North Central Texas and the entire Texas A&M University System.”
Calling it a crown jewel in the heart of the university’s main campus, state Rep. Shelby Slawson (District 59) said the center is a game changer for Tarleton State, Stephenville and Erath and surrounding counties.
“Finally, we have a venue in the heart of Stephenville for the community and students to gather, enjoy concerts, celebrate milestones, cheer on Texan basketball and move commencements indoors when the weather doesn’t cooperate,” she said. “I can’t wait for the grand opening.”
State Rep. DeWayne Burns (District 58) applauded Tarleton State’s ongoing efforts to partner with the community while remaining focused on student education and development. “Today’s groundbreaking is a testament to the university’s commitment to economic vitality, community service and the public good. As a Tarleton Texan, I am extremely proud.”
At 148,000 square feet, the Event Center will include custom locker rooms, an integrated nutrition center, a sports medicine suite, and a dedicated entrance for coaches and student-athletes. A portable, maple-wood flooring system will make installing and removing the specialized gym surface a snap without sacrificing player safety or performance.
“Dr. Hurley knew we needed something like this, not only for the university but for the surrounding communities and North Central Texas,” said Lonn Reisman, Vice President for Tarleton State Intercollegiate Athletics. “It gives everyone an opportunity to experience events they might not otherwise be able to attend. It will change the dynamics of the whole area.”
PBK is the architect, and Vaughn Construction is the contractor.
A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton State transforms generations by inspiring discovery, leadership and inclusion through teaching and research. Degree programs for more than 16,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, at A&M-RELLIS in Bryan, and online emphasize real-world learning that addresses regional needs while sustaining the values of excellence, integrity and respect.