Portland Community College has begun plans to develop an education center in Columbia County.
The campus will be built with funding already secured from a bond measure passed by voters in 2008.
PCC hosted a working breakfast with local business leaders on Thursday, June 5 in St. Helens to discuss what programs and services to provide at the new center. The breakfast was moderated by new PCC Rock Creek Campus President Sandra Fowler-Hill.
“This is no longer hypothetical,” said State Senator Betsy Johnson at the breakfast meeting. “We are starting this partnership.” Over 50 local leaders attended the meeting which featured small group discussions. Many public and business sectors were represented including energy production, manufacturing, natural resources, construction, law enforcement, public education, public administration, and media.
PCC also hosted two public forums to discuss the new campus, one on June 10 at Scappoose High School and one on June 11 at St. Helens High School.
According to information made available at the meetings, and re-iterated by Fowler-Hill, PCC is committed to building a physical center in South Columbia County where they will provide more comprehensive programing including credit courses, community education courses, student services and career technical programing.
Senator Johnson was very upbeat when discussing the potential regional benefits of constructing a local campus. Johnson noted that when PCC was considering building the Rock Creek campus in Washington County people did not visualize the regional growth that would be associated with the new campus. “The opportunity to have PCC in Columbia County will be a catalyst for this county,” said Johnson.
No specific site for the new campus in Columbia County has yet been finalized. Construction is expected to be completed prior to 2017.