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Rock Creek’s Building 5 takes on new life

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November 6, 2014
Written by Katherine Miller

Neither angry wasps, weather nor tight deadlines have held up renovations at Portland Community College’s Rock Creek Campus. The most recent milestone for the improvements there – funded by the 2008 voter-approved bond measure – is the demolition of a major part of Building 5 in preparation to rebuild and create a new hub of student life and activity.

Moreover, the work was done while the building’s gymnasium was left intact and in active use the whole time.


Aerial view of the progress on Building 5

“It was a delicate operation to an extent … to keep the existing building safe,” said Kennedy Morgan, office manager for Northwest Infrastructure. But the biggest challenge the contractor faced “was keeping everyone hydrated” in the late summer’s extended spell of hot, dry weather, and dealing with a small number of wasp nests disturbed when the roof was taken down, she said.

Northwest Infrastructure was also asked to accelerate the work schedule to accommodate permit delays. The firm met the new deadline and completed demolition in September. Next, the gym was shored up and work begun in preparation for pouring the foundation of the new addition.

“It’s going great,” said Zahava Jones, project manager for Rock Creek Campus. “Underground plumbing and electrical work continues, as does storm and sanitary sewer work. Building pad preparation and footing pouring and forming have begun,” she said.

Fortis Construction is leading the construction and general contracting at Rock Creek Campus, as well as working in partnership with two state-certified Minority Women-owned and Emerging Small Businesses — Northwest Infrastructure and Faison Corporation — on several projects there.

In keeping with the Bond Program’s sustainability goals, 98 percent of the waste material generated from demolition of Building 5 — 1,763 tons – has been recycled to date, just eclipsing the amount recycled for Building 7, said Marcus Klein, project manager from Fortis.

Work on Building 5 is on target to be finished by mid-October 2015, said Klein, and PCC will spend the rest of the year moving in so that the building can welcome students for winter term 2016. The new addition will be built in an L-shape around the gym and will house the campus bookstore, expanded food services, student resource areas and space for student government. Labs for health and wellness programs and a multipurpose physical education/dance classroom are also planned. Much needed offices for faculty will also be included. In addition, the concrete gym floor will be replaced with wood, and a loading dock will be added to the building.

Reaction to what’s already been accomplished on campus has been positive, said Jones. “People have been really excited about Building 7. It has this beautiful glass façade, and some great common area student study spaces. It has revived the courtyard area and has been really well received by the students and the staff,” she said.

Building 7 is home to new classrooms, study areas, and the Multicultural, Student Learning, Teaching Learning and Women’s Resource centers. The remainder of the building houses science and technology classrooms and labs, as well as campus administrative and office space.

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