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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Storm shuts down NW Campus

Storm+shuts+down+NW+Campus

By Connor Hamilton/reporter

NW Campus was hit by strong winds March 8, causing damage to the WTLO and WSTU buildings as well as to some outdoor art sculptures.

No one was injured on campus, but classes were canceled for much of the day.

Maintenance staff survey the damage of the WSTU and WTLO buildings caused by a storm with heavy winds. A broken facade and windows as well as roof leaks were the first noticeable damages.Photos courtesy Eric Rebosio
Maintenance staff survey the damage of the WSTU and WTLO buildings caused by a storm with heavy winds. A broken facade and windows as well as roof leaks were the first noticeable damages.
Photos courtesy Eric Rebosio

Students, faculty and staff were evacuated to the Northwest Theatre after a tornado warning was issued around 8 a.m.

“We want to be sure everyone’s safe,” NW vice president of academic affairs Leann Ellis said. “That’s our No. 1 priority.”

The National Weather Service said winds reached about 60 mph, tearing bricks off the WTLO building and shattering multiple windows.

Lisa Benedetti, NW humanities divisional dean, said the rain started at around 7:15 a.m., but by the time she reached the upstairs of WTLO, “everything went black.” An electrical outage caused the lights to turn off and automatic doors to be stuck open.

”The windows looked like liquid from the sheer force of the wind,” Benedetti said about the Walsh Library on campus. “People were being physically moved by wind inside WTLO.”

TCC’s communication and external affairs vice chancellor Reginald Gates said the campus’ electrical wasn’t to blame for the outage.

“It was mainly a power outage due to service and we were one of many customers in the area that lost power,” he said.

Gates said that the campus’ electrical is sound.

Real estate and facilities vice chancellor Nina Petty said Oncor, the energy company that serves NW, was able to restore power by 11:15 a.m.

Some students and faculty were told to move from their classrooms to the hallways while others were ushered to the theater where they were instructed to wait in the dark until they were informed there was no danger.

Faculty on campus made efforts to assure students they were safe and made as much room as possible in large rooms to be used as shelter.

“We had emergency trained individuals who are responsible for the floors: faculty, staff, etc. They just went into emergency mode and took people to secure identified shelters,” said NW vice president of academics Dr. Leann Ellis.

NW student Rachel Tomlinson was one of the few students left on campus as she was waiting on her ride to drive in from Dallas. She said faculty eased the situation during the storm.

“The faculty was very nice and very helpful,” Tomlinson said. “They were making sure I was safe. They even gave me a hoodie.”

Students relied on their cellphones for light and to get updates on what was happening.

“Everyone was wonderful and remained calm,” Benedetti said. “NW Campus did a very good job of making sure that everyone was safe and sound.”

NW Campus classes were canceled at around 9 a.m. However, afternoon classes resumed at 5 p.m.

“Through great effort and teamwork, the NW Campus was able to open for evening classes,” Petty said.

Bogdan Sierra Miranda and Jamil Oakford contributed to the report.



 

Flashlights and cellphones illuminate the corridors as NW students are escorted to the theater to wait for the storm to pass.
Flashlights and cellphones illuminate the corridors as NW students are escorted to the theater to wait for the storm to pass.
NW students watch from behind locked doors in the WSTU bookstore as maintenance staff clear the halls of broken glass.
NW students watch from behind locked doors in the WSTU bookstore as maintenance staff clear the halls of broken glass.
NW students wait for the storm to pass inside the WTLO theater, which also serves as a storm shelter.
NW students wait for the storm to pass inside the WTLO theater, which also serves as a storm shelter.
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