Out with the Old and In with the New

Daniel Stewart, representing the company overseeing Tarrant County College Northwest’s redevelopment, was briefing administrators on the upcoming demolition of three original campus buildings when he channeled Winston Churchill. But instead of blood, sweat and tears, he promised grinding, breaking and noise.

Especially noise. “It’s loud,” Stewart said. “I know this is not new to you (WADM was demolished in 2020), but there’s just not another way to do it.”

On the plus side, he said, the takedown of WSTU will be quick. The minus side is that two other buildings (WTLO and WSCT) are to be demolished, and the total demolition timetable is five weeks.

Another plus, however, is that building NW01 is almost ready for occupancy and will be welcoming tenants starting Oct. 6. Most of those people and functions have been in temporary digs in NW05, and their departure will make room for the last batch of people from WSCT before that building is the last to be removed.

The demolitions will clear the way for the erection of Buildings NW02 and NW03. These are the final two new buildings in the redevelopment plan, and the projected completion date is late 2025.

The occupancy of NW05 is noteworthy because it will be the first new space, except for the eastern wing of NW05, to have permanent occupants — mostly faculty and administrative offices and Student Development Services functions.

As each building is demolished, bricks, concrete and steel will be hauled away, but there will be a few exceptions. “Several of you have asked about bricks as mementoes,” Stewart said. “So, we are going to take a pile of bricks, some from each building to a place where people can come and pick them up. I know the different buildings have different meanings for everybody.”

There are, indeed, fond memories of the original Northwest, and some of the folks who have been around the longest shared theirs.

Laura Wood, Government (retired) — I remember how Northwest for so many years was the smallest enrollment campus by far in the District and with the smallest number of faculty.  This created a unique atmosphere as we felt more like a family.  We really did all know each other as well; I could have told you the name of every faculty member in every department in those first 10-15 years. And most of the faculty were on the 4th floor of WTLO building so we saw each other every day!  This made it easy to reach out to colleagues across disciplines and to know what everyone was doing.

I also remember some minor things about the physical campus as well.  I mainly taught for the first 15 years or so in the classroom across from the only elevator on campus.  My voice projects pretty well (especially when I am sharing my passion in the classroom) and as a result I think most of the campus passed my room at some point during my lectures!  Many of them commented that they loved to stop and listen for a bit or asked me questions about a topic. I found this so funny.

Vesta Martinez, Student Activities — My memories of the WSTU Building would be the many events that Student Activities hosted in WSTU 1303-05.  My favorite event occurred in 1998, related to a large-scale program spotlighting women in aviation.  The guest speaker for this event was Marion Hodgeson who served as a WWII WASP.  With the support of the Campus Aviation Maintenance program, we displayed a piper airplane in WSTU 1303-05.  To display the plane in the room, the Aviation Maintenance Team disassembled the plane and moved it into the space — then reassembled it inside.

George Edwards, English — When I first approached the campus, it had for me the aspects of a modernist castle, complete with towers (what were they really?) that turned slightly the wrong way like the nose, say, of a woman in a Picasso. The interior highlight was the fourth-floor view over the interior of the library and of the lake beyond. The stairwells somehow had a tubular feel and had such a uniform look inside that it took me months not to get periodically disoriented.

Angela Chilton (English) — Cheryl Roberts, English department chair, showed me to my new office when I was hired, and she apologized for how small it was. It may have been small, but it had massive windows that overlooked Marine Creek Lake. I immediately fell in love with that amazing view and loved it for all 30 years in that same office.

Fond memories indeed. Now don’t forget to pick up those souvenir bricks!