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

Governance meeting plans renovations, demolitions for buildings district wide

October 16, 2019 | Juan Ibarra | editor-in-chief

Although revamping learning environments had the majority of the focus during the monthly governance meeting Oct.10, updates on the district were also highlighted, such as new plans for the NW Campus redevelopment and district staff relocation from May Owen Center to TR Campus.

One of the proposals on the docket for the meeting was the consideration and approval of NW Campus redevelopment design contract phase IIA with Huckabee, Inc. for $13 million.

“This is for design services and construction documents for the first phase of the redevelopment [of NW Campus],” associate vice chancellor of real estate and facilities Gary Preather said to the board.

The goal of the first phase with NW Campus is to construct a new building that does not affect the others and doesn’t require any demolition that might impact the existing structures.

“Initially, I thought we had discussed eliminating the five buildings that were damaged, and now I read it here that they might be resurfacing or refacading them,” Board of trustees president Conrad Heede said.

According to Preather, the study addressed the failing building facades, and the assessment has determined that a couple of the buildings could stay up, although no specifics were detailed.

When board member Michael Evans asked Preather whether the $13 million was for the entire redevelopment or for just this one phase, Preather said this was only one phase and the total redevelopment cost would be up to $24 million.

Since the sale of May Owen Center, it has been confirmed that the district offices would move to TR Campus, and development on moving those offices is well underway with more than $1.5 million being allocated to a design contract with Bennett Benner Partners.

“We had done the programming work for it, and now we’re in the design phase,” Preather said.

NW President Zarina Blankenbaker spoke at length about the Integrated Instructional Learning Environments and the plans for TCC to adopt this new principle.

“The goal is to transform the way students learn at Tarrant County College so that what they learn is relevant and applicable in the real world,” Blankenbaker said.

IILE was first launched in January 2018 at the Learning Symposium as a way to transform how to teach students and modernize the traditional classroom setting, Blankenbaker said.

“The approach was to assess the state of learning at this college,” Blankenbaker said. “What is it that our current students and faculty are currently doing? Where are the gaps that we need to address?”

According to Blankenbaker, an important parameter of this assessment was how to teach students all the skills that employers say are important. This process would require providing faculty with new training and development, while also giving faculty a forum to talk about how this process can be improved.

“Are they [faculty] ready for this kind of new way of teaching?” board member Bill Greenhill asked.

Greenhill went on to describe that his concerns stem from an instance in the past when he saw a similar initiative at the high school level that failed.

“The difference is that years ago it failed since it was just a space consideration. The technology for this simply didn’t exist before,” Chancellor Eugene Giovannini said. “This is much more focused on the students and active learning.”

IILE is currently still in a developmental phase, but Blankenbaker said it’s planned to roll out across the district over the next two academic years.

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