As buildings start to take shape and cranes hover overhead, construction on NW and SE Campus continues as the TCC community adjusts to the changes it brings.
The redevelopment programs for NW and SE should be completed in 2025 with new buildings for students to enjoy, but in the meantime the construction itself has proved a challenge for some students.
Senate chair of the SE Student Government Association Jamea Johnson said that the most noticeable things are the noise around campus during class and the issues with parking.
“For one it’s noisy, I won’t lie,” she said. “I actually have an 8 a.m. Government class that backs right up to the construction. So we’re in here learning about checks and balances while the diggers are working.”
While the noise is disturbing at some points, she understands the importance of the construction as a whole.
Johnson said that some of the student body may feel it’s unfair that they have to deal with the construction when it won’t be completed while they’re still in attendance, but that shouldn’t stop them from seeing the worth in the renovations.
“Well, one thing I feel like is that for the current students, we’re the ones kind of making the sacrifice for the future students to come in and be able to enjoy these new amenities,” she said. “But one thing about TCC is once you’re a student, you’re always a student. You can always come back on campus. You can always enjoy these things. It’s an open campus, so nobody’s really stopping you. I think it’s totally worth it.”
Construction on SE Campus started in June of this year and is projected to be completely finished in Fall 2025. The project involves two full new buildings as well as the renovations of the main building.
SE student DaShaun Ellis has felt as if the construction is taking forever and said he’s excited for it to be finished.
“It’s just annoying seeing the entire front of TCC blocked off with no progress and multiple cranes in the back with very little progress but I don’t blame the workers,” Ellis said. “They’re doing their job and they’re doing it well. They’re just doing it as fast as any other construction job in Texas.”
SE assistant to the president Frank Powell said that these renovations are all geared to the betterment of the student’s campus life.
“The purpose of the construction includes: to create a better student onboarding experience, to increase the number of classrooms, from 42 to 84, showcase our Culinary Arts, Dietetics & Hospitality Management programs, to create the new Learning Commons as designed through the college’s principle work and increase parking for our students, faculty, and staff,” Powell said. “All the construction is being completed so that we create a great engaging and learning experience for our students.”
According to Powell, when the construction is finished the expansion in space will be able to accommodate projected student enrollment through 2030.
The budget for these construction projects comes from an $825 million bond program that Tarrant County voters authorized in 2019.
Also in motion are the plans for the relocation of many of the services offered on both campuses while these buildings are being constructed. One of the major SE movements will be in the library, which will be undergoing major renovations including the adding of a second story. Johnson said she is concerned how this will affect students who regularly come to campus for these amenities.
“For students like me who spend a lot of time in the library, once they begin that piece of construction and the library gets shut down and the books get removed, it’s like, ‘Where am I gonna go?’,” she said.
The decision on the management for supervising these relocations will be addressed in the next board of trustees meeting on Dec. 8.
Where SE’s construction has started recently, NW has been under construction for a whole year already, starting in summer of 2021. Unlike SE, NW is going through not only the construction of buildings but also demolition of buildings.
Bill Lace, a public relations and marketing writer working with TCC to help with communication regarding the redevelopment process, said that NW would be seeing “a lot of changes” with the opening of two of their four new buildings happening in 2023.
According to Lace, NW05 is set to open in May of next year, and NW01 will open later in October. The South parking lot on NW will also be opening back up for use in January next year which will make student’s, such as NW SGA president Sammy Jepsen, lives much easier.
Being a part of SGA, Jepsen works with both students and staff to ensure that life on campus is as smooth as it can be. Jepsen said that the administration has been responsive to the concerns they’ve brought forth.
“They are excellent and very down to earth people that want nothing more than students to have the best experience on campus and they’ve done that despite construction,” Jepsen said. “Nothing will change how much they deeply care for our success and experience.”
NW Campus president Zarina Blankenbaker said she wants these renovations to show that not only does TCC say they are student-ready, but are willing to take action to ensure it.
“We cannot just talk about the future we want for our students and community to have, we have to create it,” she said. “The redevelopment of Northwest is an excellent example of how we are becoming a student and future ready college.”