By Remy McCool/south news editor
Icy weather didn’t stop the groundbreaking ceremony for the Energy Technology Center on South Campus March 3.
College officials and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price just moved indoors to kick off construction on the new building.
“It’s a replacement facility for the heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and technology programs,” facilities planning and development director Kirby Chadwell said.
SHAR, the current building that houses these programs, is in less-than-perfect condition and does not provide ample space for current courses much less additional ones, Chadwell said.
When first built in 1967, SHAR was used as the aviation building.
“It’s pretty much out-of-date. It’s almost like going in a cave,” academic affairs vice chancellor David Wells said in a board meeting last summer. “It really does need to be replaced, which was the motive behind developing the new project, that and changes in the industry that we can’t accommodate with the training environment that we have.”
Additional space will allow expansion and growth of the HART programs to include courses such as wind generation, active solar energy, geothermal and oil and gas technology.
“It also expands the opportunity for students on South Campus and throughout the community really to come in and learn other new fields relating to energy and the use of energy,” Wells said.
The new building will provide more than just additional space. The building has been designed to give students an interactive learning experience.
“At the end of the day, the building will very much be a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art facility for these programs,” Chadwell said.
Current technology, renewable energy and solar energy panels are just a few features planned for the new facility.
“It’s intended to be very energy-efficient, focusing on a lot of renewable energy technology,” Chadwell said. “One thing that makes it unique and different with these kinds of programs is that there will be a lot of aspects of the building that will be an open-teaching and learning laboratory.”
For example, sections of the walls will be transparent so students can see the components that make up the wall, providing them a better visual understanding. The building itself will act as a training tool.
“The design of the center will allow for the building itself to be an instructional instrument,” campus president Peter Jordan said. “Students and faculty will have access to the mechanical systems within the building so that instructors can use the systems to demonstrate to student how those systems work.”
The center is expected to provide a place for professionals to come for training. Therefore, the new building hopes to serve TCC and the community.
The 86,467-square foot building will provide 10 classrooms and 18 labs.
The Energy Technology Center will be located in the northwestern edge of South Campus. Construction begins the week of March 10, and completion is planned for August 2015 in time for fall classes.