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

TCC’s growth comes with a hefty price tag

By Shirlett Warren/editor-in-chief

TCC’s board of trustees was presented with a $375 million proposal Sept. 22 in response to Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley’s Institutional Planning Model, aimed at providing continual student success and preparing for future growth.

Dallas design and consulting firm BOKA Powell projects TCC’s student population to be more than 115,000 students in 2020.

“With this growth, we must ensure that our campuses, our classes and our programs are accessible to all the students we serve, our faculty and staff and our community at large,” Hadley said. “We are still working to get where we need to be to prepare ourselves to help students in the 21st century.”

BOKA Powell president Tom Dwyer gave 14 priority recommendations to the trustees including building 100-seat learning emporiums on each campus and two 500-seat learning emporiums at remote locations at a combined projected cost of $40 million.

The recommendations also included investing in technical programs, expanding dual-credit programs, implementing early college programs and evaluating existing degrees to assess their community relevance.

“The overarching goal is student success,” Dwyer said.

The plan recommends reaching out to students and implementing 20,000-square-foot informal learning areas, also known as sticky spaces, on every campus.

The idea of a one-stop shop to consolidate and centralize support services to make resources more accessible and user-friendly for students was also recommended.

Plans also included future expansion, accommodation of district personnel, future use of real estate and maintenance and infrastructure needs.

BOKA Powell’s advice was influenced by several external factors including growing communities near Tarrant County and the emphasis of community growth at federal, state, industry and demographic levels, Dwyer said.

Internal factors such as implementing university centers, charter schools and early college high schools and TCC’s industry partnerships and community employers were also influencers for the group.

Dwyer said BOKA Powell, who projected a five- to 10-year relationship with TCC, said the college will not reach its goals by sticking with the existing pay-as-you-go budget model.

“You can’t spend your way on a daily basis without borrowing money in the process. Period,” Dwyer said.

Board secretary O.K. Carter said he was hesitant to make a $375 million decision 20 minutes after Dwyer’s presentation and had reservations about the student growth projections.

While Hadley wants the board to approve the Institutional Planning model, she said there was no urgency to adopt the idea immediately.

“This is a planning process,” she said.

Board vice president Kristen Vandergriff said the decisions the board makes will have 100-year implications, and while she didn’t like the price tag, she liked the plan for the students.

Board president Bill Greenhill said the plan was ambitious.

“It’s a mind-boggling plan, but in principle, I’m very supportive of it,” he said. “Times are going to change, and we need to change with it.”

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