“The Woodlands are for the birds,” said sophomore Kelsi LaRoe while talking about the various students’ feedback she has seen and heard during her first few weeks back for the spring semester at Tyler Junior College.
Twenty-three salmon colored buildings can be found between Porter and Tipton streets, about a block away from TJC’s main campus. With the construction of brand new science labs in Genecov for the first time in over 50 years, the Apache Woodlands seemed to be the only logical solution for students to continue taking science courses in the midst of construction. Students are finding different ways to cope with the half-mile walk to the new temporary location for most of the science classes taken at Tyler Junior College.
“I don’t mind walking. I just think it’s a pretty far walk. I get tired,” said sophomore Justin Beene, with a laugh. “I have speech right before that class in Wise, so I get out at like, I don’t know, 2:05, and I have to be all the way to the Woodlands in like 15 minutes. I usually get there on time though,” he added.
Reaction to the new classroom environment has been different among many students who come to the Woodlands between one and four times a week.
“I mean, you have air conditioners in the walls and you can’t hear anybody talk, and we only have cold water which is not good because we need hot water to sterilize things. It just feels cheap. I mean, we all pay a lot of money to take classes here,” said sophomore Rebecca Counanan.
While some students are feeling as if they are not being granted the classroom environment that they deserve, many other students feel as though the staff at TJC has made compromises to keep their students as comfortable as possible despite the circumstance.
“I don’t really mind it. Since we are over there, we don’t have to buy a lab manual or a book. He’s pretty much going to teach it to us straight. We’re going to get straight down to the work. Since we have to walk pretty much a mile, we don’t have to carry all those heavy books with extra information that we’re never going to use said Pickitt.
Safety is also a big issue for some students taking classes in the Woodlands. Some students would like to see traffic better regulated throughout the path. Other students would like to have safety measures taken before and after their night classes.
Campus Safety has already taken precautions to ensure the students’ safety during their walk. Surveillance cameras have been added and many trees have been cut down surrounding the cameras to ensure the camera’s clear picture. There is also an officer on duty at all times during the night class hours.
“If I could tell students one thing when it comes to walking to the Woodlands, it would be to stay safe,” said Dr. Tom Johnson, TJC Director of Public Safety.
If nothing else, some TJC students feel the spreading out of the campus and what many see as a long walk to the Woodlands is exactly what they need to get a taste of what they will experience after leaving TJC and starting school on a much larger, four-year campus.
“It’s just like being at a university. You just have to grin and bear it,” said Pickitt.