TC building boom takes step forward
Cloud named construction manager for four-building project
Over the next three years, the landscape at Temple College will change dramatically with the construction of four major buildings, the demolition of two aging facilities and improved entrances. TC President Christy Ponce said the new buildings should be finished by 2026, in time for the college’s 100th anniversary. Temple College was founded in 1926 and operated in the basement of the old Temple High School until it moved to its present location in 1962. During World War II, the present-day Temple College site was home to a German Prisoner of War camp. David Stone photo
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Temple College’s board of trustees have approved Cloud Construction Company to head a massive building project that could begin in early 2023.
Temple-based Cloud was selected as construction manager at-risk out of a field of 12 firms that submitted proposals. The other finalists were Bartlett Cocke, Vaughn Construction and Hill & Wilkinson.
“All four submitted competitive proposals,” said Dr. Christy Ponce, Temple College president. “Cloud’s proposal was very competitive. This is an exciting step forward.”
TC board chair Bob Browder agreed.
“After an extensive process, Cloud Construction was selected as the construction manager at-risk for Temple College’s landmark capital improvement program,” Browder said. “With Cloud’s decades of experience building educational facilities, we are confident they will provide the best value and serve as a trusted construction partner to the college. It’s an exciting time, and these new buildings will transform the college for generations.”
Cloud’s proposal included a $6.38 million fee for managing the project, liability insurance and assorted fees. That number represents about 6.82 percent of the $93 million assumed construction cost and was about $2.5 million less than proposals by both Hill & Wilkinson and Bartlett Cocke, and nearly $4 million less than Vaughn’s proposal.
Last May, voters approved a $124.9 million bond by a 1,484 to 1,219 margin. Passage of the bond set the stage for the construction of four major buildings on the Temple College Campus. The bond money also will provide necessary equipment for each building.
“We’re hoping the design work will be concluded by the end of this year and full construction can get started in early 2023,” Ponce said.
The project includes the expansion and renovation of the Health Sciences Center, which will allow Temple College to more than double its existing nursing program. Other new buildings will include a TC Main building, a new Campus Services Center and a combination Visual Arts and Advanced Manufacturing Training facility.
“Because of growth, nursing and some of our other health-care programs are housed in temporary spaces,” Ponce said. “This will provide urgently needed facilities for learning, training and clinical simulations.”
Ponce said TC’s current Health Sciences Center is stretched to beyond capacity and the classrooms and labs are undersized. The new facility will provide upgraded facilities to help train Temple College students, as well as medical students attending Texas A&M Medical School and — starting next year — Baylor College of Medicine.
“The new Health Sciences Center will have more than 42,000-square-feet of new building and about 12,000-square-feet of renovated building,” she said. “The plan originally was to make the center two stories, but we are looking at an option that would be three to four stories. In essence, we would have three buildings in the Health Sciences Center connected by a corridor.”
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Tracey Cooper, executive director of nursing at Temple College, said the expansion will allow additional growth to a program that has already doubled in the past four years.
“We started expanding our Associate degree nursing program in 2017 and had a five-year goal of doubling enrollment in the program,” Cooper said. “We hit that goal a year early and now we’re out of room.”
The new Health Sciences Center will be home to many existing programs, as well as some that are being developed.
“We’re working with Baylor Scott & White to set up a polysomnography program to train sleep technicians,” Ponce said. “We received a $1 million grant to provide this training and launch new career opportunities in hospitals and sleep labs.”
The new TC Main building will be an 80,000-square-feet building that will house all student services “in one convenient location,” Ponce said.
“The building will include a University Center where four-year universities — Texas A&M Central Texas, for one — can offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs on the Temple College campus. The building also will include a Workforce Development Center that will provide students with training programs for high-wage, in-demand jobs.”
The Main building will include a new front entrance to the college, an events room, classrooms and writing labs, she said.
Ponce said the Main building would replace two buildings on campus that are about 60 years old — Berry Hall and the Instructional Services Center. Berry Hall was built in 1962, just five years after Temple College moved to its current location. Founded in 1926, the college was located in the basement of the old Temple High School before moving to its new location “on the hill.”
“The Main building replaces several of our older academic buildings and will include new technology for student learning and community access,” Ponce said.
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The massive construction project also includes an 80,000-square-foot Advanced Manufacturing Training and Visual Arts center on the north end of the TC campus.
“Right now, our Visual Arts Center is located in an old Western wear store on 5th Street,” Ponce said. “The staff there has done remarkable things in that building, but it's just too small.”
The current Visual Arts Center has a small gallery and cramped classrooms. The new combined facility will be located in a field behind the current VAC, Ponce said, and will feature a large, modern gallery and art studios.
Ponce said the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center will work with Temple-area manufacturers and provide training to students that would allow them to go to work upon completion of their program.
The center will include several areas of specialty, including a semiconductor institute and other programs customized to fit the needs of local companies.
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A new 18,000-square-foot Campus Service Center will be constructed on the far east side of the TC campus, and will allow the college to park its operational vehicles out of the public eye.
Right now, the center is on the southern end of the campus and is the first thing people see when driving down a section of HK Dodgen Loop that one day is expected to be part of the I-14 system.
“This will provide a new home for the campus police, the physical plant and information technology,” Ponce said. “The current facility will be torn down to create a safer entrance to campus off 5th Street.”
“All back-end operations will move to the east side of campus, and the new facility will allow the parking of maintenance vehicles and our Mobile Learning Center.”
The Mobile Learning Center is a 42-foot trailer that serves as a traveling classroom. It is fully equipped with mobile workforce-development equipment and computers, and it can offer training at rural school districts and at work sites.
“About 25 people can fit in a class or workshop, and it’s designed where equipment can be taken out of the trailer to make the surrounding area part of the classroom,” Ponce said.
“We also have two large athletic buses that we will park at the new location.”
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Ponce said the project — once full construction is under way — will be completed within about 3 years.
“Since the buildings are different sizes, some will be built faster than others,” she said. “But we hope to have all four competed by 2026 — our 100th year. That will definitely be a cause for celebration.”
“Temple College provides affordable and accessible higher-education opportunities at only one-third the cost of most universities,” Ponce said. “This allows our students the chance to obtain important college degrees to transfer to a university or obtain training to enter the workforce without having to relocate.”
One of the new buildings will house Temple College’s Visual Arts department along with an Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. The 80,000-square-foot complex will be located behind the current Visual Arts Complex on the north end of campus. The current facility previously served as Triple D Tack & Western Wear for many years and was a popular place for horse supplies. David Stone photo
Temple gas prices on the rise
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Temple gas prices remain significantly lower than a month ago but have started another climb toward the $4 mark, according to AAA Texas.
As of 6 a.m. this morning, the average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline in Temple was $3.73, nine cents higher than last Sunday. Prices were $3.85 in Temple a month ago and $2.51 one year ago today.
Premium grade gas has increased more than 11 cents in the past week and diesel has gone up 8.5 cents.
The average price of regular-grade gas in Texas is $3.78 cents per gallon, up seven cents from a week ago, and the average price nationwide is $4.12, which is a gain of more than four cents per gallon during the past week.
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