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

Campus rebuild part of proposal

Campus+rebuild+part+of+proposal
Due to storm damage on NW Campus, the board will use some of the bond money to reconstruct the campus.
Collegian file photo

By Juan Ibarra/editor-in-chief

The entire NW Campus is shrouded in scaffolding and fences. It has been for nearly four years after a March 2016 storm took off a portion of the exterior brick facade.

Now, TCC’s former board president said engineers at the time studied the damage and realized that the building was unsafe. As a result, she said TCC plans on rebuilding at least part of the campus. The $825 million bond proposal approved by the board and scheduled to be decided by Tarrant County voters in a Nov. 5 election will go partly to rebuilding the campus.

“That building was badly built,” Louise Appleman said. “The contractor just didn’t do it right, and those winds hit it just right during that storm. When the engineers went in there to look at it, they realized there was no repairing it. It has got to come down.”

Reginald Gates, vice chancellor for communications and external affairs, in response to Appleman’s comments, said that the college will share information with the public in the coming weeks.

“Plans are going to be phased, but as of now they aren’t finalized,” Gates said.

The cost of evaluations and scaffolding reached up to $2.1 million by February. Architectural firm Huckabee and Associates and design firm Gensler were interviewed and selected to start the planning phase for the development of NW Campus.

The bond proposal calls for “constructing, improving and renovating and equipping” the buildings in the TCC district, according to the proposal approved by the board Aug. 15.

“When you’re on NW Campus, it doesn’t take more than driving up to the buildings to determine those needs,” Heede said. “Or going out to SE and see the number of students and the overcrowding. South Campus and NE Campus are over 50 years old.”

TCC hasn’t held a bond election since 1993. Since then, the college has put aside money to pay for its own repairs, but Heede says the time is right to change that philosophy.

“We had a pay-as-you-go plan that worked well for a number of years, but all of a sudden we have a great number of needs on every campus,” Heede said. “So, the bond program just made a whole lot of sense. Interest rates on bonds are very low right now.”

If approved by voters, the college would not receive a lump sum of $825 million all at once, but rather in two or three quantities, Heede said.

“We don’t want to borrow any money that we don’t absolutely need to address the needs that we’re trying to accomplish at any one time,” Heede said.

The “One College” program, instituted by chancellor Eugene Giovannini, states that the TCC district is not six colleges, but one college with six campuses. This initiative has been a major proponent to ensure that the bond election takes place, he said.

“When the chancellor instituted the ‘One College’ program, he asked people at every level that are contributing their knowledge and advice to state needs that the college has and advice on how to make the college more effective and efficient,” Heede said. “And that’s yielding tremendous results.”

NW vice president for student development services Joe Rode said the mission of TCC is to help students while providing the best resources possible.

“We really need new facilities,” Rode said. “The students deserve new facilities. The South Campus is 50 years old.”

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