Beginning in the spring semester, students who would normally have classes in the Gene- cov Science Building will be forced to walk to a temporary site blocks away from campus.
While Genecov is being renovated, 22 portable buildings housing science classes will be used on a lot off Devine Street.
“It’s going to be a challenge, and we are trying to do the things that we know to pos- sibly do to make it (traveling the distance) a little bit safer,” said Thomas Johnson, director of Campus Safety.
New sidewalks have already been added. Other measures planned include installing new lighting, fencing and security cameras.
Johnson said there also will be security at the site.
“We have already hired some additional officers so that when we open the temporary Genecov building in January, we can have ad- ditional personnel,” said Johnson.
Campus Safety Chief Randy Melton add- ed that the new site will also be marked with signs indicating it is TJC property and that it is under surveillance.
Johnson said it will be up to the city of Ty- ler to make street crossings off campus near the site as safe as possible.
they look at it (safety matters),” Johnson said. Lack of parking near the site will also be an issue. There will be limited parking on only one side of Devine Street. “We encourage our students, if at all possible, to park on our school property,”
Melton said, noting that parking lots on campus are pa- trolled and kept under camera surveillance.
Johnson hopes the safety measures being put in place will help the students affected by the yearlong work on Genecov.
“It’s going to be a year of displacement because students will have to be displaced and that’s just the way it has to be,” he said. “We still have to go to school and that’s the only way to do it.”
Chris Jones, a sophomore, is not looking forward to the changes.
“I have a class for biology set in mind for the spring semester already,” he said. “And I can assure you that the issue is not going to be find- ing a parking space. It will be getting there on time and getting through the traffic or the bad weather.”
Students trying to drive to and from the new site could increase the problem of traffic congestion on campus.
Johnson, who is a member of the Tyler Traffic Safety Board, said that next year the city of Tyler will begin a study examining traffic flow, speed limits and pedestrian traffic and Crossings in and near TJC.
By studying how students move around campus, Johnson said the Traffic Safety Board hopes to devise a plan that could include adding new crosswalk signs and sidewalks.
Currently, the speed limit of streets on campus is 30 mph.
“It’s just too congested to go over 30 mph with all the cars and pedestrian crossings,” Melton said. In the last month, there have been at least three traffic accidents reported to Campus Safety.
When a traffic accident occurs on a public street near campus, the accident is reported and investigated by the Tyler Police Department. If the accident occurs in a TJC parking lot, then Campus Safety will investigate, handle the paperwork and encourage those involved to exchange insurance information.
Campus Safety officers are on duty at all times. In case of an accident or an emergency, students are encouraged to call Campus Safety at 903-510-2258 or, after 5 p.m., 903-510-2222.