By Nancy Tannler
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new SE Center Library and Student Commons Building at Portland Community College was an important celebration for the vision of higher education in our community.
The ceremony marks the ongoing transformation of the Center into a comprehensive, full-service campus.
PCC President Jeremy Brown Jeremy gave the welcoming address saying this would not have been possible without the PCC board, Montavilla neighborhood, Sue Ann Higgins, Portland Public Schools Chief Academic Officer, Library faculty, the bond office and the people of Portland who voted to pass this bond back in 2008. The $374 million bond was the largest in state history.
Campus President Jessica Howard explained how the addition of these new buildings would add to the learning opportunities for people wanting higher education. “The new campus will be a haven for learning,” she said.
The Student Commons Building is the one that faces 82nd at SE Division St. It is a three-story, 66,000-square-foot building housing an expanded bookstore, five science classrooms/labs, six general purpose classrooms, four career technical education/computer classrooms, a new answer center for better student service delivery and a new STEM center.
The addition of the science labs means that students don’t have to travel to another campus to complete assignments.
The Library facing SE Division St., is also three-stories and a 40,000-square-foot facility containing a Student Computing Center, Student Learning Center (including tutoring services), Volunteer Literacy Center, traditional library services, four classrooms and study areas.
The 1911 brick building (formerly the German
American Society building) will be renovated and become the PCC administrative offices. The existing Mt. Tabor Hall was remodeled and four new classrooms were added to this building.
The addition of these new buildings plus the acquisition of the property all the way to the Kaiser parking lot at 76th makes PCC Southeast Center a 6.5 acre campus serving 20,000 students–twice its former capacity.
The campus can now meet the requirements for an associates degree.
New buildings enclose an inner courtyard that makes it feel like a college campus. There are trees, bioswales, pathways, bike racks, grassy areas–nice places to gather in the warmer months and to walk through going from class to class.
Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer spoke with enthusiasm about the new additions to PCC campus.
According to statistics, she said 40% of graduating high school will go on to college, 40% will receive vocational training and 20% will join the work force and seek extra training to enhance their skills.
Many state and local officials were present or represented. Commissioner Amanda Fritz gave the closing statements commending the great job of building and staying on budget by Walsh Construction. She also praised the staff at PCC, the board and the people of Oregon for placing a high value on education.