The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Energy building prepared for plans

By Mona Lisa Tucker/south news editor

An Energy Technology Center is in the works on South Campus and is being designed to be environmentally friendly, said manager of strategic project development Margaret Lutton.

The facility would become the teaching tool by producing and monitoring its own energy and showing students the building’s interior to expose these systems and demonstrate how they work, she said.

“TCCD has been in need of a new facility for the heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration program for several years,” she said.

Tom Hart, electronic engineering department chair, said oil and gas production, industrial maintenance and renewable energy programs will have labs in the building.

He is proposing a 50-foot tower for a wind turbine outside. Inside, glass features will allow sunlight to do much of the lighting, he said.

“Studies have shown that students do better when they have more outside light coming into a building, versus the darkness that a lot of institutions have,” he said.

Lutton said the administration approached the faculty to meet with their advisory committees to investigate potential programs.

“After a thorough industry search, it was discovered that the renewable energies provide new, emerging green careers, many of which overlap our current curriculums,” she said.

These new careers include wind generation and active solar photovoltaic module technicians, which require courses in electronics, safety and material classes, already taught on South, she said.

Some other goals include it being metered separately from the other buildings on South, showcasing current and future energy technologies and creating synergy among technical programs, she said.

This center will provide access to a realistic, living, learning lab that meets the needs of students by giving them hands-on and real-world experiences, she said.

“We are currently in negotiations with an architecture firm to complete the design services for this project including initial construction costs to be presented to the Board of Trustees for their approval,” she said.

Hart said it will not be a net-zero building because the air conditioners used for teaching purposes will require a certain amount of electricity.

“If you don’t have a lot of lab equipment, you can get by with that,” he said.

When students walk in the foyer, they will see a big screen LCD panel showing the different power sources that are receiving power, he said.

The outside environment will have green walkways that will be pleasing to the eye, and the rooftop may have a vegetative area for students to use and grow things, he said.

“So we’re very much pushing the green aspect of it,” he said.

The whole purpose of this building is to promote a proper understanding, appreciation and use of environmental resources, Hart said. Students who go into the building will realize there is more to it than just the walls, he said.

“Hopefully, if they continue working this fall, they can get the building up this spring,” he said.

South student Brent Hawkins, an electronic technology major with an oil and gas specialization concentration, said this is where the most opportunities for technicians are.

“The facilities are amazing,” he said. “I actually transferred here from another school in west Texas.”

Willie Parks said he heard about the program on the TCC cable television channel, which is why he became interested in it. Although he is looking forward to enjoying the new building, he loves the current labs because of the hands-on aspect.

Another South student, Phillip Demaline, has been in the energy field for about 14 years. He hasn’t been in the technical end of it, and that is his interest in this program, he said.

“It’s a good thing,” he said.


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