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Hangar Opens As Aviation Maintenance Set for Re-Takeoff

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ROCK CREEK — The $2.3 million aviation hangar and classroom project at Portland Community College’s Rock Creek Campus in Washington County will be officially opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m.

"Our main gain here is adjacencies," commented Aviation Maintenance Technology program chair Phil Siechen. The approximately 17,000-square-foot facility includes a 7,200-square-foot hangar and five classrooms paired with five labs. Construction began in the spring.

The program was previously housed at both Rock Creek Campus and Scappoose Airport. And even then, the Rock Creek component was split up between three buildings. This forced students working in one building to retrieve needed tools from another building.

The 19-month program, which leads to an FAA mechanic’s certification, is experiencing a rebirth after a three-year drop in enrollment. The drop reflected a national trend, said Siechen. Though the program contained about 110 students for many years, that number dropped to 47 last fall term, and has rebounded to 85 this fall.

The dip in enrollment means new graduates are in high demand, often starting at $15 per hour. "Airlines are hiring, Boeing is hiring. There’s a lot of headhunting going on right now," Siechen noted. "Students coming into the program now, I have four or five employers I can refer them to." One recent graduate with a year’s experience even landed a job with Learjet in Wichita, Kan., said Siechen.

Funding for the hangar project, which was built by Shimizu, Inc., was five years in the making and included funds from a PCC bond measure, the Portland Development Commission and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The ceremony will also include a slide show of the hangar’s construction. PCC’s Rock Creek Campus is located between Beaverton and Hillsboro at 17705 N.W. Springville Rd. For more information, call Siechen at 614-7463.

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