Campus Growing Pains

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    As more and more university buildings and parking lots appear around campus, more private businesses disappear, a local business owner said.Dallas Kirbie, who owns Fox’s Barbershop, which is one of the few private businesses immediately east of campus whose property does not belong to TCU, said TCU’s campus has been growing in all directions over the past 50 years.

    “It’s like I’m on a razorblade,” Kirbie said about TCU’s expansion. “On one hand, with their improvements and buildings around me, it’s been great, but I’m squeezed for parking.”

    Fox’s Barbershop has shared five parking spots with two other businesses since the completion of a TCU parking lot in January.

    Susan Farrell, owner of Susie’s Hairstyling, recently had to move her shop when TCU ended her lease Feb. 1 and gave her 30 days to leave.

    “My feelings were hurt the way they treated me,” Farrell said. “I understand that TCU is growing and that’s fine, but I’ve got kids I’ve got to feed. I have to work. It wouldn’t have hurt them to give me 90 days.”

    Farrel said she feels TCU used to be a much more family-oriented university, and that when she first started working in the area in 1974, she was a part of that family.

    “Where did TCU go?” Farrel said. “The family that they were is gone.”

    Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said TCU’s physical and financial growth has made it necessary for the university to make more business-minded decisions.

    Mills said TCU has a $350 million budget and a larger student body than ever before, and that it owns 70 percent of the real estate between McCart Avenue and University Drive.

    “We have to be careful in making sure everyone is treated in a way that is responsible and fair,” Mills said. “Our first priority is to provide a quality experience for students.”

    Mills said that when business owners sign a lease on TCU-owned property, they should understand TCU will soon want that property. He said TCU should strive to be as forthcoming as possible with expansion information.

    Mitch Hines, a freshman pre-business major, said he thinks TCU has to be run like a business for it to succeed, and that private businesses should not expect special treatment from TCU.

    “TCU has to grow,” Hines said. “TCU is taking more students than ever, and we need the space. TCU is a business too. We’re not a charity organization that should look out for everyone.