Dexter Learning student puts the tick back into Big Blue clock


WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— Big Blue has been an iconic building in Downtown Wichita Falls for decades. The original building was built in 1920 and it has seen numerous owners, including the most recent, Will Kelty who purchased the building about 5 years ago. But as Kelty brought elevators, heating, plumbing, and other equipment back to life, one nagging issue kept ticking him off, or rather, refusing to tick for him.

The clock would work for a while sometimes, but then stop, and no one could seem to solve the problem until a 14-year-old Dexter Learning student down below asked if he could go up and have a try at it.

When Will Kelty took over Big Blue, he knew it was more than just another building, and he also knew how people usually lookup for the current time and temperature.

“I have had intermittent problems with the clock tower. When the building shut down I know the previous owner had a lot of complaints that the clock tower got shut off and it was just inconsistent, the clock would sometimes come on and sometimes come off,” Kelty said.

After hiring several electricians to try their hand at fixing the clock without success, Kelty was at his wit’s end, that is until 14-year-old Gabriel Bentley came along.

“About a month ago I got an email from one of the Dexter pupils, Gabe, who had outlined a proposal to try and get the clock tower working again,” Kelty said.

Bentley did just that.

“There’s a sensor called a photo-eye, it’s like an eye but for a computer. It lets you know if it’s day or night or cloudy or raining in some of the newer models but the one that is installed currently in there is broken right now,” Bentley said.

Bentley discovered that when the sensor gets wet it causes the clock to malfunction. Kelty said this discovery says a lot about Dexter learning and the students enrolled there.

“I’m just blown away by their spirit and their inventive spirit and their creative spirit and their ability to look at things and say I can do that when other people in trained professions can’t figure out how to get it working and so hats off to Gabe and to Dexter,” Kelty said.

Hats off to a program that produces a younger generation able and willing to bring back the fond memories of the older generation.

Another thing that’s special about this clock is that Gabe actually got the clock to show the temp not only in Fahrenheit but also celsius for all the international students at Sheppard Air Force Base who are not familiar with the Fahrenheit scale.

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