In 2021, Tyler Junior College introduced a multi-year project called the Comprehensive Master Plan for developmental ideas and needs for all TJC campuses. The Master Plan was motivated by the 2020-2026 Strategic Plan, a seven-year plan used to put into action the community’s vision for TJC’s future and what ways to build on its historic past.
“You know what, now that we have our strategic plan, we really want to look back, and make sure that we understand what we need in terms of facilities to support what we just laid out in our strategic plan. So the Master Plan was actually one of the initiatives that came out of the strategic plan,” Kim Lessner, vice president for operations and chief operations officer, said.
The Master Plan consists of many components put together for the benefit of TJC.
According to plantjc.com, “the plan will assess facility needs, address enrollment growth, reinforce the TJC identity on campus, enhance student experiences, and address vehicular and pedestrian circulation, and potential land acquisition/development, among other things.”
The Master Plan goes beyond physical changes on campus as it focuses on the needs of students, faculty and the community.
“So it’s not just about buildings, in fact, that’ll be the end result. But it’s more about, where do we think our enrollment is going from a numbers perspective in all of our areas? Are we offering the right programs? Should we offer different programs?… And so it’s a little bit going into the future, but really trying to make decisions that are grounded in data,” Sarah Van Cleef, vice president for financial and administrative affairs and chief financial officer, said.
TJC has partnered with Freese and Nichols, a consulting firm, to help put the Master Plan into action.
The Master Plan consisted of four phases to help with the planning procedures. The four phases are: Information Collection, Analysis, Review, and Refinement/Final.
Phase 1, Information Collection, occurred June-August 2021, and consisted of gathering information from students, faculty and community stakeholders. Information was collected through surveys where students, faculty/staff and community members expressed concerns, desires for the campus and what they already enjoy.
“We met with student groups. We met with faculty and staff. We met with the Board. We met with foundation. We even opened it to community. We opened it to the ISD leadership in the area of the local high schools. What can we do better? What are we missing? What do we need to do in addition to what we’re doing,” Van Cleef said.
Phase 2, Analysis, occurred August-November 2021, consisting of analyzing current campus conditions, project enrollment and developing concept plans.
“They [Freese and Nichols] analyzed existing conditions. They analyzed our facility conditions. They analyzed our utilization of spaces, how we’re utilizing our labs, how we’re utilizing our regular classrooms and then our specialized spaces. They worked with projection enrollments on census and just growth in the areas,” Van Cleef said.
Phase 3, Review, occurred November 2021- March 2022, consisting of creating illustrations, developing recommendations, reviewing with leadership and a community open house.
“That’s where they developed the recommendations, created illustratives, just kind of showing some visualizations of, you know, things they were talking about. And then they reviewed it with our internal leadership team,” Van Cleef said. “And then we had a Comprehensive Master Plan committee on campus that kind of pulled from all different sectors of campus.”
The fourth and final phase, Refinement, occurred from March-July 2022. In this phase, the Master Plan was revised and edited, and illustrations were finalized.
“They also put in costs and what we could expect if we were to build it today and what it looks like in the future and stuff like that,” Van Cleef said.
Since the planning process is complete, the Master Plan has been reviewed and is soon to be published and available to the public.
“We really do want, not just TJC employees and students to know what our plans are, like the strategic plan is public, the Master Plan, we want to be public,” Lessner said. “We want people to really have a good understanding of TJC, what our priorities are, where we’re going, and how everyone can participate in TJC’s future.”