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Building for the Future

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PCC building projects, paid for by the 2000 bond, are moving right along as design planning and bidding processes dominate at the three campuses. However, construction began in August at the new site for the Southeast Center, located on the corner of Southeast 82nd Avenue and Division Street. The college celebrated the start of construction for the new 94,000-square-foot building with a "wall razing"ceremony, which brought down a portion of one of the vacant buildings. Approximately 100 community friends and staff attended, including PCC President Jesus "Jess"Carreon, Doreen Margolin, chair of the PCC board, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Nels Hall, principal with Yost Grube Hall architects, all who provided remarks. Cascade Campus Executive Dean Mildred Ollee served as emcee and said that the project, until that day, had been a "dream deferred,"adding that passage of the bond measure, the opportunity to purchase a new site and the sale of existing properties have made the dream a reality. The new center, designed by Portland firm Yost Grube Hall, will provide residents in outer southeast Portland greater access to higher education. Approximately 1,400 more students will be able to take classes at the larger center. The $18 million center, targeted to open in fall of 2003, will allow the college to provide more courses, including lower-level college courses, as well as English as a second language, alternative high school offerings, pre-college, professional-technical, and personal enrichment classes such as photography. The design of the center is intended to provide students a more "campus-like"atmosphere with common gathering areas, a central courtyard and a caf’. The architects have also designed a building and site that will be environmentally progressive, using sustainable elements such as daylighting, stormwater management, and materials selection. Plans for the new center call for a new, two-story, 23,300-square-foot building, plus remodeling an existing 60,300-square-foot building and constructing a 10,300-square-foot addition. The college purchased the 10.3-acre property for $5.7 million. Baugh Skanska is the construction manager and general contractor for the project. At the Sylvania Campus, the new two-story distance learning/classroom building is in the design development stage and will be ready for bidding and construction by next spring. Other jobs at Sylvania include upgrades in several classroom areas, with completion scheduled before the start school this fall. Last summer, the Sylvania Campus cafeteria and caf’ underwent a complete remodeling. At the Rock Creek Campus, two projects are also in design development stages. The new library/student services building and the new additions to Building 7 will be ready for bidding and construction by spring as well. Work will be fast and furious at the Cascade Campus with a groundbreaking scheduled for soon after the term begins in late September. The college expects to move recently purchased houses and material from other houses will be recycled. Phase one projects include construction of the new physical education building and remodeling of Jackson Hall. The Student Services and Student Center buildings are in the construction documents phase of development and are expected to be bid and under construction later in the fall term. The college selected Walsh Construction as the construction manager/general contractor for the phase one work.Person brings diversity to construction projectsby James Hilljohn persen.Diversity isn’t new to John Persen. For the energetic Persen, always on the go to meetings and greeting Portland Community College community neighbors, it’s a way of life.Persen is PCC’s coordinator of Minority, Women and Emerging Small Business (MWESB) outreach through the 2000 construction bond. He networks with key organizations and businesses in the community to help spread contract money to underrepresented workers and companies.Persen oversees the hiring compliance of the construction manager/general contractor to make those targeted hiring percentages and make sure those percentages stay where they need to be. The construction managers on PCC projects must try to reach a target of 17 percent apprentices, and 20 percent of the workers that consist of women and minorities on projects around the district. This process is being applied to construction projects at Southeast Center, the Sylvania and Cascade campuses, and a commercial demolition phase at the CAPITAL Center.He has plenty of experience. Persen worked in the purchasing department for the City of Portland to oversee compliance in its workforce training and hiring program where he helped develop two diversity-based programs in the city. Before that he did the same for Multnomah County as a senior buyer, making sure the county applied a good faith attitude towards its hiring practices."It’s a good opportunity to expand to the college the successful programs that are being used locally to increase diversity and bring a unique opportunity that only the college can bring to the table,"said Person, who earned his associate’s degree from PCC. "I graduated from Benson High School, which has a diverse student body, and I had friends every color rainbow. Over time through life learning and working with Multnomah County on diversity issues, I feel this is my calling."To achieve this goal, Persen helps nurture a good faith effort to address MWESB contractors being utilized, and workforce training and hiring that tackles minority and women apprenticeship in the trades. He works diligently with the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, and the Oregon Construction Workforce Alliance.Also, Persen partners with the Minority Business Opportunity Committee, which includes entities that deal with MWESB companies. This partnership goes statewide and includes Portland Development Commission, U.S. Small Business Administration, Bureau of Land Management, Bonneville Power, City of Portland, Intel, Metro, Nike, Port of Portland, Portland State University, Tri-Met, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife to name a few."These partners help us put on various bonding workshops and outreach. This is a big part of the process,"Persen said. "When the contractor requests women and minorities, it sends a signal that there is a need for diversity."The reason for PCC’s outreach is simple. Last year, the PCC Board of Director’s made it a point to apply a good faith effort to have equity in the hiring and contracting process on the college’s construction projects. The State of Oregon certifies firms and keeps tab on a pool of MWESB organizations to help contractors reach their target percentages.PCC is trying to get the word out. Persen works closely with organizations to promote the MWESB hiring so that more and more people can have an opportunity apply for work on the construction jobs. Such organizations as the Business Advocates Group, which includes the City, Multnomah County, Tri-Met, Metro, Port of Portland and Portland Development Commission, help connect the college to diverse contractors and workforces."PCC has been able to do recently, through the board’s and the president’s commitment, to be become part of the governmental team locally,"Persen said. "In the last ten years more folks have come to the table. It’s the right thing to do. Portland has become more diverse."

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »