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Longtime professor excited to see projects at TJC develop

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Tyler (KYTX) -- An update on development taking place at Tyler Junior College. One longtime professor has watched the school grow over the years, and says seeing these projects play out is one more reason to put off retirement.

"I've been out here 45 years," Professor Gene Branum, Engineering and Physical Sciences Chair at Tyler Junior College, said.

Branum can attest more than most, how the campus has changed.

"It has grown considerably. This semester my classes increased by 50 percent," Branum said.

Decades ago, Branum never would have thought he'd be around to see a new Nursing and Health Sciences facility go up, or another dorm added to meet a larger student population. He says while he can retire, he doesn't want to.

"I enjoy what I'm doing. It is interesting to be around and see all the changes that are going on, and I kind of hate to walk away from that," Branum said.

Tyler Junior College board members discussed both projects today--and both are on track. Construction on the newest residence hall is set to start April 1st.

"The construction will take approximately 14 months," William King, Tyler Junior College Facilities and Construction Executive Director, said.

School leaders say small adjustments had to be made when costs for construction work started going up-- but they didn't have to compromise the number of beds, still at 250.

"We made rooms a little smaller. We took out the general offices. We took out a few study areas, but we have other study areas in the building," King said.

And with one parking lot soon to be gone, they're thinking ahead to not put students in a crunch.

"Our plan is to have at least 100 spaces at the new nursing building ready to be used for our students in the fall semester," King said.

Branum plans to be around to see it. "I can't think of anything I'd rather do than this," he said.

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