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

No-shows stop forums

October 16, 2019 | Juan Ibarra | editor-in-chief
Photo by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. Planned community forums for the bond proposition were canceled due to low turn-out across most campuses in the TCC District.
Photo by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. Planned community forums for the bond proposition were canceled due to low turn-out across most campuses in the TCC District.

With the Nov. 5 bond election coming closer, TCC planned to host a series of community forums on each campus to see what the community had to say. However, low attendance led to most of them being canceled 20 minutes after they began.

While this may look worrisome from the outside in, Chancellor Eugene Giovannini said he sees it as a vote of confidence for the school.

“If people really have concern about something, then they’re gonna show up,” Giovannini said.

According to Giovannini, there are a lot of moving parts in the plan for the district and are scheduled through the year 2027, with plans to renovate as well as add on to.

“We have 3.9 million square feet and 1,500 acres,” Giovannini said. “And so now, we’re trying to take care of it while also adding to it. It’s very complex.”

The attendance may be low at the campus forums, but Giovannini said other events had been hosted outside of the college for other organizations and those have been well attended with good feedback given.

“They have confidence in that we’re doing OK, and if they didn’t have confidence, then people would probably say something,” Giovannini said.

According to chief operating officer Susan Alanis, the low attendance has only reinforced her thoughts on the bond proposition.

“The college went through a lot of work the last couple of years while developing their strategic plan of 3 Goals and 8 Principles,” Alanis said. “And a lot of the construction that is going to be planned in all of this is just in support of all of that.”

Vice chancellor for communications and external affairs Reginald Gates said he isn’t surprised by the low attendance because the bond proposal is a zero tax rate increase.

“We’ve been historically very frugal and with our support from the taxpayers, it shows they have faith in us,” Gates said.

Construction and design firms have been hired for the process of reconstructing each campus, and pre-planning has already started before the bond proposal has been approved, showing TCC’s confidence in their plan.

“There are other ways in which you could finance something,” Giovannini said.

Giovannini went on to list ways to finance this project if it does not pass in the election, such as borrowing money, asking the voters again and other types of bonds that could be issued.

“There are other options there, and if we had to go with those options that may change the calendaring, what we can do and how quickly we could do it,” he said.

The negative side of choosing alternative routes with the plan is that they will take longer to put in place and may cost more money, so Giovannini said he believes this is the best option.

“At that point, we would have to review our priorities and figure out what we were going to do next,” Alanis said.

Alanis said the benefit of the bond program is getting a large amount of cash upfront to avoid construction costs escalating, which allows the college to be more strategic in its approach.

Early voting starts Oct. 21 through Nov. 1 on all five physical campuses.

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