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

Board OKs digital signs, converting extra TR space

By Bethany Peterson/editor-in-chief

Nothing passed the board of trustees without discussion at the March 8 meeting.

In the end, the board passed $1.2 million in renovations and repair for the May Owen Center and for additional space on TR Campus to be converted to offices and furnished.

The board also voted 5-1 to purchase six digital marquee-style signs for NE, South and SE campuses at a total cost of $197,000.

Trustee O.K. Carter voted in support of the signs after opposing the purchase at the last meeting but said in an interview he is not totally convinced they are needed.

“Frankly, I almost voted against them again. I just decided to accept the preponderance of the evidence they presented as sufficient,” he said. “There is an enormous concern about safety. You want warning and then backup warnings and then backup warnings, and we have that redundancy now.”

The signs will be controlled by TCC’s external communications department from a central location and will display emergency and event information and registration and fee dates among other things.

“[In the event of an active shooter,] the way it is now without the signs, we would actually have to have police officers at the entrances when they are needed elsewhere on the campus,” said Angela Robinson, vice chancellor of administration and general counsel.

All but one of the six signs will be double-sided and placed perpendicular to the road. NE Campus president Larry Darlage requested the campus’ granite monumental sign remain in place, so one of NE’s signs is single-sided and will be installed parallel to the road.

The locations have not been finalized, but signs will be placed near the campuses’ entrances.

Trustee Robyn Winnett voted against the signs.

“That is a very expensive message sign,” she said at the board meeting. “I can see a sign for an entrance onto the campus, but, personally, I don’t like them.”

After discussion, the board also approved converting TREF’s third floor into office space for current and future TCC employees. Some current employees are located in the rented Water Gardens Building. The new offices will also house staff moved from the center because of crowding.

“We are basically keeping the infrastructure walls of the classrooms in place and going inside those classrooms and putting in work stations, cubicles and mountable offices so at such a point and time that it needs to be converted back to classrooms, we are just pulling that stuff out,” Kirby Chadwell, director of facilities planning and development, told the board.

“It is basically an entire floor that is now empty. They rearranged their schedules to make those spaces available, so it is approximately 80 people that would go on that floor.”

Only the TCC Foundation would stay in the Water Gardens Building. The college estimates that in two and a quarter years, they would pay off the cost of renovations in what is saved by the smaller lease at the Water Gardens Building. The lease is currently about $250,000 per year.

The board approved new furniture and electrical and air conditioning adjustments in the new office floor as well.

To bring the TRE Campus parking lot into compliance, up to $65,910 was approved to add seven or eight new parking spaces, most of them handicapped spaces.

For the May Owen Center, the board voted in favor of a new air control system, work on four offices and bathroom upgrades beyond what is required for code compliance.

This does not include additional work to repair water damage after a pipe burst at the center or code compliance. Repairs and code compliance issues will be covered at least partially by insurance.

“The reason we are doing [the restroom remodel] on the second floor is because we don’t see it fair that a handicapped person might be working up on the second floor to have to go downstairs to use the restroom,” Gary Preather, director of construction services, told the board.

Trustee Robyn Winnett brought up that the board has still not determined if it will keep or sell the center.

“Weren’t we at one time considering selling this place?” she asked at the meeting. “Have we decided to stay?”

The idea was discussed several years ago but never settled. Winnett suggested it be re-examined soon.

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