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PCC Purchases Property for New Southeast Center
Photos and Story by James Hill
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College’s Southeast Center will move into a new home in the fall of 2003, if plans move ahead as expected. The college has leaped the first hurdle, recently negotiating the purchase of a 10.3-acre property on Southeast 82nd Avenue and Division Street. The college purchased the property for $5.7 million on the former site of a Builder’s Square outlet and an Albertson’s grocery store. Proceeds from the $144 million bond in 2000, and sale of the current site and other college property will pay for the new center The construction of the new center is expected to cost $18 million. PCC has wanted to provide greater access to higher education for residents in outer southeast Portland for some time, but the current 7.5- acre site presented numerous challenges for expansion. Problems renovating the Southeast Center include limited parking, expensive remodeling costs and the lack of availability of adjacent property to add on to the existing building. The current Southeast Center is located at 2850 S.E. 82nd Ave."Construction of a new facility at a new location will be a more effective solution to meeting present and future student needs in this part of our district,"said Randy McEwen, vice president of Administrative Services. "Our current site has very limited potential for expansion, if any. Plus, we will improve our energy efficiency and utilization of square footage. The new center will be approximately 95,000 square feet. The preliminary plans for the new center call for remodeling an existing 65,000-square-foot building – the former Builder’s Square outlet – plus constructing a new two-story, 30,000-square-foot addition. The other building, the former Albertson’s store, will be torn down. The architectural firm Yost Grube Hall, under contract with the college, is preparing designs for the project. The work could begin late this spring, with the opening scheduled for fall term of 2003. The new site will allow the college to bring more lower division college courses to outer Southeast, as well as English as a second language classes, alternative high school offerings, pre-college and professional-technical classes. Kimberly McClain, chair of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association, which represents 6,000 households in southeast Portland, said, "The association is very excited to have PCC move into our neighborhood. The area that PCC is moving into has been such an eyesore. Plus, the whole idea of being able to offer the first year of an associate’s degree is going to be great for people who live in this area."