Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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Grass is greener at Rock Creek’s Building 7

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new grass June 2014 planted in May 2014, shown in June 2014

The new lawn at Building 7

Spring sprang overnight in front of Rock Creek’s Building 7. Muddy, covered in dead grass and trampled with the tell-tale sign of construction activity, the front yard of the newly-renovated building was a sorry sight. But there was a plan all along.

Tuefel Landscape, which holds a one-year contract for sprucing up the lawn, was waiting for the weather to improve and the area to dry out before they got to work, said Janis Nichols, Rock Creek’s community engagement manager. In mid-May, crews arrived and got busy. They tore up the 25,000-square foot lawn and mixed it with about ten dump truck loads of new top soil and other amendments. Marcus Klein, Fortis Construction’s Rock Creek project manager, said crews were able to reuse the lawn’s existing soil, but because it contained heavy amounts of clay, amended it with pumice to help with drainage.

RC Bldg completed view from library

Building 7 lawn before.

But before the new soil was spread, a drainage field was built. Klein said the drainage system, along with the gentle slope of the land, will keep water from pooling and move it away from the building. Crews then planted dozens of pounds of grass seed. Within 30 days, the seed sprouted.

But the lawn isn’t the only beautiful new landscape feature at Building 7, which opened in March 2014. Landscape architects added two stormwater treatment planters at the east and west ends of the building. Designed with water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in mind, the planters filter stormwater from the building’s roof of sediments or possible pollutants before it enters the stormwater system, which connects to the detention pond on campus.

The planters are just one of the features that will help the Building 7 achieve LEED Silver certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building certification program awarded by the US Green Building Council. PCC strives for LEED Gold certification, and is committed to achieving LEED Silver for new all facilities, and LEED EB (Existing Buildings) in buildings renovated under the $374 million voter-approved bond program passed in 2008. Building 7 is the first to be renovated at Rock Creek under the bond program. Nearly 18,000 square feet of inefficient space was removed and replaced with a new 28,00 square-foot addition, making way for classrooms, study areas, and the Multicultural, Student Learning, Teaching Learning and Women’s Resources centers.

Read about Building 7

Though the lawn area now accentuates the beauty of Building 7’s gorgeous glass facade, the young grass isn’t yet strong enough for foot traffic. Klein said it is coming in strong though, and should be ready for touch football and frisbee games by fall term.

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

About Karen Kane

Karen Kane is the Community Relations Manager for the Sylvania Campus. A passionate storyteller and communicator, Karen has told the stories for several organizations in Portland, including the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the ... more »

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