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

Board reconsiders plans for plaza on new campus; ECI granted one-year renewal for food service

By Katie B. Martinez/reporter

At its June meeting, the TCC board discussed proposed canges to the new campus and voted on a food service contract and campus renovations.

The board is currently taking under advisement specific recommendations put forth by world-renown architects for changes to the construction plan of the downtown campus.

The architects were invited to participate in a workshop sponsored by seven downtown businesses and organizations including Sundance Square Inc., the area’s management group. The focus of the debate is the original plan’s underground walkway and plaza, Chancellor Leonardo de la Garza told the board.

The design has recently come under fire from Bass and other local business leaders, who think an above-ground plaza would be more functional and attractive.

Changing the plans so late in the construction process raises concerns for TCC trustees who must look at the additional expense it could create for the project already nearing the $300 million mark.

The goal of the architects was to evaluate the current plans and make specific suggestions for improvement to the design.

The board is currently reviewing the group’s recommendations, which include raising the design plan’s sunken plaza to ground level and appointing an ad hoc committee to oversee development changes.

“ It’s a wonderful idea to have a life space for the community,” de la Garza said. If it’s going to be done, we ought to participate, but somebody else will have to pay for it.”

Board members delayed making a decision regarding the revisions pending further discussion with stakeholders and community.

An open meeting has been scheduled for July 10 at the May Owen Center. De la Garza requested the meeting and asked that the definition of stakeholders in this project include students, downtown employees and property and business owners around the other side of the property.

Board members expressed a willingness to further communicate about the subject and a desire to find a compromise.

“ If we can do this without incurring additional expense to the college, and without further delaying the construction, I think we have an obligation to do so,” board member Robert McGee said.

Also on the agenda was the food service contract, covering the cafeterias on all four campuses. The three-year contract for ECI, the current company, is up for renewal. Rudy Gonzales, vice chancellor for financial services, said commercial food service companies were encouraged to put in bids on the contract, but no company other than the current provider did so.

“ The money is just not there,” he said. “These companies said that the community college market is just not appealing to them.”

ECI proposed a five-year contract to service TCC, but Gonzales said it became apparent that no one really knew how the students and faculty perceived the quality of food and service currently being provided.

Several options were presented, including bringing in franchised food service such as Subway or Pizza Hut, which would be the most expensive option for the college. The least expensive option, Gonzales said, included investing $69,000 in new kitchen equipment and extending the contract of the current provider.

A one-year contract was granted that would include the $69,000 in upgrades and a return rate of 7 percent of all sales to the college.

Another meeting was scheduled in six months to review results from satisfaction surveys available to customers in the cafeterias and on the TCC Web site.

In other business, the board also approved contract negotiations to begin on renovations previously approved on both NW and South campuses. The two projects will begin the first of a long list of repairs approved with the TCCD master plan in 2004.

The WCTS building on NW Campus, where the counseling and testing centers are located, will be updated in coming months, and South Campus students will see some sidewalks and the central plaza restored.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian