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New leader excited about $34 million improvements at Southeast Center
Photos and Story by James Hill
On a wet Tuesday afternoon on Oct. 30, Jessica Howard could not contain her smile.
That’s because the new president of the Southeast Center and Extended Learning Campus was orchestrating the groundbreaking and community fest to celebrate the $34 million in bond construction to expand the center. Howard was showing off her new center to the likes of U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, state Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, state Rep. Michael Dembrow, and almost 300 community guests that included kids from Alder Elementary and Harrison Park schools. The Community Fest attracted a culturally diverse group of attendees, including food vendors, live music, face painting, Chinese and martial arts performances through the Portland Art & Cultural Center.
View the gallery of the festivities.
“If you want a place that is innovative and diverse and responds quickly to situations then this is the campus for you,” she said. “This is a burgeoning moment for the Southeast Center and the excitement is palpable.”
With children painting pictures and artists painting faces, the community met Howard and learned about the educational opportunities that the construction will provide once work ends. The work is connected to the voter-approved 2008 bond measure. For the first time, area students will be able to fulfill their basic higher educational requirements at the Southeast Center. Today, this location serves more than 11,000 students and the bond construction will increase that number to 18,000.
PCC is working with SRGPartnership to design the new buildings and campus plaza as well as renovations for existing buildings – Mt. Tabor Hall and the historic 1911 German American Society Building along Division Street. Construction Manager/General Contractor for the site is O‘Neill/WalshCommunityBuilders.
The Southeast Center Data:
- Learning Commons Building – It will house the center’s new library, tutoring center, computer resource center, study spaces and classrooms, as well as 1,080 square feet of ground floor retail space along S.E. Division Street. The building will be three stories and about 36,000 square feet in size.
- Student Commons Building – This structure will have additional student services, and new bookstore, classrooms and science labs. Like the learning commons building, it will be three stories and incorporate ground floor retail on the east side of the building (along S.E. 82nd Avenue) and be about about 60,000 square feet in size.
- Expanded Footprint – Currently, the center covers approximately 10 acres and has two buildings providing 91,000 square feet of services and space. When completed, the Southeast Center will be 18 acres big and have six buildings providing 200,000 square feet of services. With only 26 classrooms and only limited offerings in the sciences, the bond work will bring the new total to 39 classrooms, two additional computer classrooms and five science/Career Technical Education labs.
- Timeline – PCC will begin building the new library and an expanded campus green space pedestrian mall early in 2013. The German American Society Building will be preserved and completely renovated, becoming the permanent home for campus administration, Community Education Program staff and flexible meeting space for community‐related events. This work will begin in the summer of 2013. The current Kaiser Clinic site, slated for renovation in 2014, will be the home of the future campus childcare development center.