NW President Zarina Blankenbaker recalls scaffolding above her and the mud she and the people of NW Campus would walk through amid the construction. Now, they stood in front of the large windows and pillars of a newly finished building.
The building in question is NW05. On May 5 at 10 a.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at NW05 to celebrate the completion. It is the first finished building of an $825 million bond program fund in the construction and redevelopment projects started in 2019 at NW.
For Blankenbaker, she said the completion and opening of NW05 was a groundbreaking, pivotal moment formed from a vision.
“It marked the official beginning of the college’s focus on building futures, supported by the $825 million bond package passed by voters—all of you—in November of 2019,” she said.
She acknowledged that it was not always easy for staff and faculty to navigate the construction, but she believed it taught them to adapt.
“We’ve grown stronger. We’ve grown more flexible, more inventive, more willing to endure the present,” she said.
Indeed, people were ready for the new space to open. NW SGA president Sammy Jepsen said that he started his journey looking to make a difference on campus in 2020 when the construction project covered the buildings in scaffolding.
Now soon ending his journey, he said he reached his goal just as NW05 was completed.
“The buildings have grown along with our student body. We’ve had this opportunity, the experiences from start to finish,” he said. “The construction of the new buildings, brick by brick and nail by nail is exactly comparable to our students’ progress class by class, and pencil after pencil.”
He was happy with what he saw on the tour the day previous, saying there were plenty of new labs and resources available for students.
“I’m looking [forward] to see how students feel on the campus and how they enjoy it, their opinions and how we prosper,” he said.
The recommended components of the 2019 bond proposal includes new learning commons, classrooms, registration counseling centers and more. For NW05, there were four levels of various classrooms, office space and labs, as well as “swing spaces” for students to hangout at.
The sentiment for space was shared by NW student activities student employee Aaron Trevino, who said it was harder in the older buildings to find space without it feeling stuffy.
“I’m definitely excited for more student spaces so people can have a place,” he said. “Because of the older buildings, it feels a little more stuck, stuffy and everything. In here, it definitely is way more open.”
Nearby high schools will be able to use the newly opened space, as well. The Marine Creek Collegiate High School has a partnership with TCC and Fort Worth ISD, allowing them to be involved with TCC activities like Marine Creek Land Scholars, Phi Theta Kappa and more.
FWISD deputy superintendent Karen Molinar said that the students have more education opportunities being able to earn college credit and a two year degree, something that is building a brighter future for the students.
“I cannot wait to see how our student experience enhances even further when our students for Marine Creek Collegiate High School get to move into this building,” she said.
Fort Worth city council member Carlos Flores said he is proud of the progress NW has made, saying TCC is an integral piece of infrastructure in the FW community.
“This campus that we’re standing in today represents an investment in our future, an investment in the future of our students and an investment in the future of our community,” he said.