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Columbia County focuses on its Future at PCC event
Photos and Story by Janis Nichols
More than 60 people gathered at Meriwether Place in St. Helens on Tuesday, Oct. 21 to offer thoughts and suggestions about the new Portland Community College center scheduled to open in Columbia County by 2017. The center would be paid for through PCC’s bond program.
Rock Creek Campus President Sandra Fowler-Hill reviewed the extensive college engagement events that have taken place since May in the county.
“We have heard you and we are back with you tonight to talk about your expectations and next steps,” Fowler-Hill said.
At the Oct. 21 forum, table discussions focused on how best to measure the success of the new center after its first year of operation. Perhaps the strongest suggestion, and one that Fowler-Hill promised to deliver on sooner than later, was the creation of an advisory committee with representatives from Vernonia, St. Helens and Scappoose.
“We know that such a council will help sustain the momentum and keep us focused on what PCC has to deliver to make the center a success,” she said.
Guests also heard from two students with local ties. Shea Jewell recently graduated from Scappoose High School where she earned 28 tuition-free credits through the the college’s Dual Credit Program. She is now a student at Portland State University. April Long, a former resident of Scappoose, is finishing her associate’s degree in the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program. Long worked last summer as an intern at Boeing’s plant in Gresham. Both students talked about the influence that PCC has had on their learning experience.
The college is a big source for education in Columbia County. In 2013-14, 1,311 students from the county enrolled at PCC and 58 percent of them were taking classes at the Rock Creek Campus.