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Thirty-eight years, 38,000 Students and $38 a Credit

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By Mark Evertz

Portland Community College in 38 short years has grown up from the humble beginnings of portable buildings on a back lot of Benson High School to become the largest higher education institution in the state of Oregon.

This fall term, which began on Monday, Sept. 20, more than 38,000 students are expected to attend classes at one or more of the three comprehensive campuses, four work force training centers or the 150 community locations throughout the college’s 1,500-square-mile district. With sizeable enrollment increases over the last three years, close to 90,000 students are expected to choose PCC for their educational and personal enrichment for the 1999-2000 school year.

One of the top news stories for 1999-2000 will be the appearance of a proposed $144 million bond measure on district-wide ballots in the May 2000 primary election.

If passed by voters, the college will be able to renovate aging facilities at its three campuses and improve facilities dedicated to work force training, computer technology and science.

All campuses will be direct beneficiaries of an affirmative vote by district patrons, with projects such as a new library at the Rock Creek Campus, new science classrooms at Cascade and computer technology enhancements at the Sylvania Campus, all in the tentative construction plans. For more information on the proposed bond measure, or the projects being discussed, contact Jan Coulton at 977-4374.

Also generating a buzz at PCC will be five new degree programs given Oregon Department of Education approval in May. Students now can earn two-year associate’s degrees in Aviation Science, Building Inspection Technology, Construction Management Technology, Facilities Maintenance Technology and Gerontology. In addition, some of these programs have one-year certificate options.

The curriculum for these degrees was crafted with the input and guidance of advisory committees composed of professionals and agency leaders within the respective fields of study. One example of that cooperative effort is the Aviation Science degree. Students of the Aviation Science program will learn in classrooms on the ground and will take to the air for flying lessons, thanks to a budding partnership with Hillsboro Aviation in Washington County and other businesses such as Horizon Air.

For information on any of the new programs, call the following telephone numbers: Aviation Science, Rock Creek Campus, 614-7246; Building Inspection Technology, Sylvania, 977-4166; Construction Management Technology, Rock Creek, 614-7475; Facilities Maintenance Technology, PCC Southeast Center and Rock Creek, 788-6206; and Gerontology, Sylvania, 977-4288.

In addition to those degree programs, PCC offers about 80 degrees in a variety of disciplines, many of which are transferable to four-year colleges and universities. People curious about PCC or those wishing to expand their mind in community education classes will be glad to know that everything from cooking classes to personal and professional development in a variety of fields are there for the taking. What’s more, they are all available in your neighborhood in community centers, schools and the PCC campus near you.

Students will pay $38 per credit hour for the 1999-2000 school year, an increase of $1 from the previous year.

To get an up-close look at PCC programs and training opportunities, keep an eye open for the Portland Community College videos, "PCC Profiles," on TCI and Paragon Cable, Channel 31, and TCI Tualatin Valley, Channel 2, this fall. The promotional videos provide details on the many educational and training opportunities available at the college. For scheduled run times of the videos, contact Susan Hereford at 977-4421, or Mark Evertz at 977-4376.

In just 38 years, PCC has emerged as a resource for those who seek an accessible, affordable and high-quality education. The college has three main campuses: Sylvania Campus in Southwest Portland, Cascade Campus in North Portland, and Rock Creek Campus in Washington County between Beaverton and Hillsboro. It also has training centers, satellite offices and 150 community locations for credit and non-credit classes.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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