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New Student Commons open for business — December 30
Photos and Story by Gina Whitehill-Baziuk
December 23, 2013
Written by Gina Whitehill-Baziuk
Today – December 30 – Thanks to the 2008 voter-approved PCC Bond measure, the college opened its newest building at the Southeast Center to the public. “We are excited to bring this new three-story Student Commons to life,” said Linda Degman, the college’s Bond Program Director. “The new building fronts SE 82nd Avenue and will quickly become the hub of the Southeast Center with a new centralized student services center, an expanded bookstore, a new testing center, a financial aid office, faculty office space, five science classrooms/labs, six general purpose classrooms, a large lecture hall, and four career technical education/computer classrooms.”
“If you live in Southeast Portland and you have thought about going back to college or skilling up – this might be just the right time. We are growing by leaps and bounds, from two buildings to six – and doubling our campus size,” said Dr. Jessica Howard, President of the Southeast Center and Extended Learning Campus.
“With this expansion, we have more and a greater diversity of class offerings, particularly in the sciences. Through the center, students can explore many career and technical programs, such as CADD (computer-assisted drafting and design), computer application systems, welding, aviation science, and management and supervisory development.”
The Student Commons will be buzzing with student activity in its new Answer Center – a one-stop shop for PCC students. Cross-trained advisers will help students register for classes, complete their financial aid documents, pay their bills, obtain their official transcripts and guide them through testing — all in one place. The College decided to incorporate this centralized student service model to make it easier for students to navigate the system. This is especially helpful for first-time students who may become frustrated and confused navigating various students services located in different campus buildings.
The Student Commons will also house an expanded campus bookstore, which is scheduled to open in early February.
The five new science classrooms / labs are designed for geology, biology, chemistry, physics, physiology and anatomy courses. To compliment this growing emphasis on the sciences, PCC will open its college-wide STEM Center on the second floor of the building. Susanne Christopher, the Division Dean for sciences at the Southeast Center, has been heading up much of the efforts around getting the center up and running.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity because it provides a tangible presence to represent what is going on campus-wide,” said Christopher. “It shows the commitment that PCC has made in further efforts to support STEM programs and projects.”
As part of the center, there will be a Science on Display room that will allow students and staff to view projects and displays, similar to set-ups at OMSI.
“This is an exciting time for Southeast Portland. With the new Student Commons – and the Library in March, we are literally opening doors of opportunity to the community,” said Howard.
PCC’s 2008 voter-approved $374 million bond program is increasing opportunities for residents to access quality, affordable higher education close to where they live and work. Additional classrooms, updated equipment and technology, and advanced workforce training programs are helping to pave the way for future employment options. For more information, visit www.pcc.edu/about/bond/about.