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

TR struggles to open, but serves community

After+a+difficult+location+search%2C+TCC+found+the+solution+in+the+RadioShack+complex+in+downtown+Fort+Worth%2C+reaching+an+underserved+population.+
After a difficult location search, TCC found the solution in the RadioShack complex in downtown Fort Worth, reaching an underserved population.

By Audrey Werth/tr news editor

The history of TR Campus doesn’t go back far, but a lot has happened from the moment a need for a downtown campus was determined.

After Downtown Fort Worth Inc. recognized the area surrounding downtown as an underserved community in need of higher educational opportunities, it brought together local colleges and universities.

After a difficult location search, TCC found the solution in the RadioShack complex in downtown Fort Worth, reaching an underserved population.
After a difficult location search, TCC found the solution in the RadioShack complex in downtown Fort Worth, reaching an underserved population.

“At that point, everyone thought, ‘Oh well, we’ll just go in together on a campus,’” said Louise Appleman, president of TCC’s board of trustees. “So, it would be kind of a multi-institutional campus.”

TCC’s search for the right location to build the college was not an easy one.  After much consideration, Vancouver architect Bing Thom was contracted to design a campus on both the north and south sides of the river where the Trinity River East Campus now resides.

“The idea was to build a campus that actually spanned the Trinity River,” Appleman said.

Criticism about this decision arose from several different groups and individuals each with their own concerns: historical significance, taxpayer money and interference with the Trinity River levee.

After Hurricane Katrina, the Corps of Engineers became much more cautious with its approval of new projects. Not wanting to face further delays, the district dropped plans for an elaborately designed college with two buildings and a connected walking bridge spanning the river.

At this point, construction was already underway on what is now TREC. With some delays and design changes, that campus was eventually completed without the second structure planned for the other side of the river.

In the meantime, TCC made a deal with a trust that owned the RadioShack complex, so the main downtown campus could move into that location.

TR Campus opened in the fall 2009 with Tahita Fulkerson as president.

After being named president, Fulkerson had a year to get the campus ready for students: hiring faculty and staff and converting an office building into a college.

TR East Campus focuses predominantly on nursing and health sciences.
TR East Campus focuses predominantly on nursing and health sciences.

“We immediately started moving furnishings to make spaces for students to work together outside of the classroom,” Fulkerson said. “Now the district calls those informal learning spaces.”

The already existing cubicles were also used, but instead of grouping departments together, TR administrators decided to mix the faculty desk assignments..

“We have an art teacher next to a math teacher next to a social science teacher,” Fulkerson said.

Since opening, faculty, staff and administrators have joined in discussion groups reading books together and developing common hallmarks to foster a sense of community on campus.

Every new employee reads The Disney Way to create a cohesive management style.

“Students tell us that they are happy here, and I attribute that to the people we’ve hired but also to the Disney philosophy that we have pushed since day one,” Fulkerson said.

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