Tyler Junior College

Board approves architectural team for facility

Published Wednesday, 5th September 2012

Board approves architectural team for new Nursing and Health Sciences building

The Tyler Junior College Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Wednesday during a specially called meeting to award SmithGroupJJR, Inc. as the lead architectural firm for the planning and design of a new nursing and health sciences facility.

The new 150,000 square foot facility will allow for the expansion of the college’s nursing programs and the addition of new health sciences majors of interest to the local medical community.

SmithGroupJJR, recently ranked second nationally by Architectural Design magazine amongst the magazines "top 100" architecture firms overall, will work with two Tyler-area architectural design firms, a Tyler engineering firm and a Tyler landscape architect on construction and related projects.

SmithGroupJJR will conduct interviews with college personnel and others to determine space allocations and design elements of the new facility, to be constructed on property bordered by Fifth Street and Fleishel Avenue.

Mark Kranz, principal design director for SmithGroupJJR, said renovation of of spaces vacated by academic programs that will move to the new facility will be designed and planned with the assistance of the Eubanks Harris Roberts Craig Architects and Fitzpatrick Architects, both of Tyler. Civil engineering assistance will be provided by the Brannon Corporation, with landscape design assisted by David C. Scarbrough Landscape Architecture of Tyler, he said. Representatives from all three Tyler firms were introduced during Wednesday’s meeting.

"This is the largest project ever undertaken at this college and we only get one chance to do it right," said TJC President Dr. Mike Metke, in announcing the College’s recommendation.

Dr. Metke said a selection committee led by Mike Caruso, director of purchasing and contracts, made the recommendation after meeting several times to review proposals received from a May 17 request for proposals.

Caruso said the number of firms under consideration was narrowed first to five, then to two before the final recommendation.

Following the Board’s vote to recommend the selection, Kranz delivered a presentation with possible designs for the structure that would retain the current lay of the land. Kranz explained that the site has a 40-foot fall from Fleishel Avenue to Magnolia Avenue that could present challenges. However, he said retaining the present fall of the land and preserving a ravine that runs north and south across the property could potentially save in construction costs and preserve the land’s aesthetics, which includes a number of large trees.

SmithGroupJJR has completed similar projects at college and university campuses across the country, Kranz said, and has extensive experience in working with hospital design and design for health training facilities.

The college has said the construction of the new facility and renovation of existing structures where nursing and health sciences programs presently reside will cost no more than $50 million. On May 12, voters within the TJC tax district approved a $25 million bond package for construction, and the Board approved issuance of those bonds during its Aug. 23 meeting.

Revenues generated through student user fees for nursing and health sciences programs will generate an additional $12.5 million and private funding will cover the remaining $12.5 million.

The college plans to open the new facility for the Spring 2015 semester.

Fred M. Peters

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