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Thanks to bond funding, Sylvania Campus photography lab gets ‘facelift’
Photos and Story by Gina Whitehill-Baziuk
What was old in the photography laboratory at Sylvania Campus is now new and improved.
Thanks to bond dollars the laboratory now features a new iMac-infused computer room to meet the needs of students studying modern, digital photography. At the same time, the old dark room has been reformatted for the use of advanced photography students in need of developing film-based work for their portfolios, as well as for digital photo instructors to demonstrate traditional practices to their students.
“While we’ve taught digital photography at Sylvania, we’ve never had our own ‘home’ at Sylvania – in the past we’ve shared a room with graphic design, then shared room with design,” said Kim Manchester, the photography instructor who oversees Sylvania’s program, which is housed in the Communication Technology (CT) building.
“With growing enrollment, full classes and a dynamic photographic community – both in Portland and at the college – we’re now able to support and facilitate students’ interest in this medium with our renovated, state-of-the-art facility at Sylvania,” Manchester said. “It’s exciting.”
Construction engineers and contractors have been hard at work renovating Sylvania’s photography lab for about 12 weeks, according to Gary Sutton, bond project manager for the Sylvania Campus, “to ensure that it was ready by the start of winter term.” In terms of changes to the suite:
- A former art classroom (CT 112) was transformed into a computer room, specifically for digital photography classes.This features 24 new iMac computers.
- A portion of the old art classroom was carved out and redesigned to become an art gallery, to showcase students’ artwork. The gallery is designed as a long hallway that runs between the computer room and the technology office. Special lighting and hanging devices have been incorporated into the redesign.
- The technology office was carved out of the existing adjacent art classroom (CT 113). Students can now check out equipment, which is stored in newly installed cabinets, from the office tech supervisor.
- The existing dark room was gutted and reconstructed. Additions include a “Star Trek”-like spinning dark room door; a stainless steel, commercial-grade sink equipped for proper rinsing of photography chemicals; and four built-in work stations.
- A redesigned computer lab now offers student work stations for photo layout, along with a large, freestanding “island” work table that features special lighting equipment. This supports mounting and matting of artwork and enables students to collaborate on mural-sized projects.
- Windows were taken out of CT 113 to facilitate the addition of a second projector for lectures and presentations.
- An office was created for Manchester, adjacent to the dark room.
- Supply cabinets for photography equipment, props and other lab items were added in the storage room.
“This has been a wonderful experience to be part of,” said Manchester, with regard to the visioning process of what the new suite could look like and how it could function.
“The architects were so willing to consider ideas we put forth and work with us on the final product. For example, we’ve never had a location to display our students’ work, and in this collaborative process we were able to create a real gallery – and it’s beautiful. I couldn’t be happier,” Manchester said.
Funding for construction stems from a $374 million bond measure approved by voters in 2008 to upgrade existing buildings, expand work-force training facilities and add needed buildings at PCC’s campuses throughout the district. Of this, approximately $52 million will be pumped into Sylvania Campus to renovate 160,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory and office space, as well as build a new childcare development center and a storage facility for the automotive building.