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

South tech hub prepares for its close-up

South tech hub prepares for its close-up

By Hope Sandusky and Samuel Medina

South Campus’ new technology building, which will have its grand opening Sept. 25, allows students to not only learn about the fields they are going into but also practice using real-life equipment.

The two-story, H-shaped building was designed in mind for students to get the best learning experience. The 87,000-square-foot facility took five years to build and cost $30 million.

South Campus’ technology building has its grand opening Sept. 25. The building houses heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, architecture and construction management.Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
South Campus’ technology building has its grand opening Sept. 25. The building houses heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, architecture and construction management.
Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

“The building is their learning tool,” South air conditioning and refrigeration instructor Jeff Rector said. “Everything is designed to be the best example for any situation a student might have in the work field.”

For South air conditioning and refrigeration instructor Mike Laster, the building is a huge improvement compared to the old one.

“The building is fantastic and working really well,” he said. “There’s a lot more room for the students to interact or if they want to go off in a corner and get some studying done. It’s a big bonus and a great improvement for students.”

The building is divided into two sections, north and south, allowing for more natural light. Some classrooms include skylights as well. Roll-up doors are featured inside the hallways, rather than on the outside walls to maintain the energy efficiency.

Students can practice repairing air conditioning units. Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
Students can practice repairing air conditioning units.
Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

“We knew it was important to be as efficient as possible with what we were given,” Rector said.

The classrooms move from easy to advanced down the hall with the idea that pieces can be moved as needed. Classes run 8 a.m.-noon and 6-10 p.m., but the building is designed to allow for some general academic classes to use the rooms as well.

The building also features exposed details from the installation in walls to even the plumbing in the men’s bathroom.

Air conditioning and refrigeration instructor Jeff Rector explains how technology will benefit students.
Air conditioning and refrigeration instructor Jeff Rector explains how technology will benefit students.

“This all means something to us,” Rector said. “We have tripled the labels on most of the pipes and parts so that students are constantly learning and seeing what these parts are.”

South student Stacie Rodriguez, who is in the heating, air conditioning and refrigeration program, said the building was intimidating at first but had everything they could need to learn.

“It’s perfect for students who learn by actually doing the work,” she said. “It’s not your average classroom. It takes hands-on learning to a whole new level. We’re working with tools we’ll be using in our actual jobs so I know when I graduate, I’ll be prepared.”

Even the air conditioning ducts double as a learning experience, color-coded to show the direction of air.
Even the air conditioning ducts double as a learning experience, color-coded to show the direction of air.

Rector said that it is important for students to recognize and learn about as many parts as possible for them to succeed in the workforce.

“We mimic reality as much as possible,” he said. “They can understand it firsthand, which is the best way to show it.”

The lab rooms in the building feature a variety of types of equipment, from different brands and types of air conditioning units to different refrigerators.

“By having as many options as we offer, they can know how to work on all types of equipment,” Rector said.

South student Tony Gomez said the new equipment is beneficial for students.

“It makes classes a lot more enjoyable,” he said. “I think it looks incredible and will really guide me toward my career.”

The new building has even sparked the interest of some other students who aren’t in any of the technology programs, like Daniel Villa.

“I saw the new building was completed and got curious,” Villa said. “I didn’t know TCC offered any of these classes, and now I kind of wish I knew about it before this semester started. After checking out the building, I do think I’ll look at the different options they offer.”

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