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Pitt Community College History

In March of 1961, Pitt Community College was chartered and designated by the State Board of Education as an industrial education center. The college began its operation as Pitt Industrial Education Center the same year with Dr. Lloyd Spaulding serving as director.

Program offerings developed and expanded, and the school was designated a technical institute by the State Board of Education in 1964. The name was changed to Pitt Technical Institute in July of that year, and the brand new Vernon E. White Building opened two months later to serve 96 students in nine curricula.

Dr. William E. Fulford served as the institution's president from 1964 to 1984. In those 20 years, the institution changed and grew considerably.

In 1970, the Robert Lee Humber Building was completed, providing an additional 31,458 square feet to serve Pitt County citizens.

Five years later, a new addition to the Vernon White Building provided space for a student lounge with various recreational facilities. The addition also provided facilities for the Business Computer Programming curriculum. In recent years, the White Building has become the college’s administrative center.

The summer of 1979 brought about two important changes to Pitt Technical Institute. The Kay V. Whichard Building, a 26,000-square-foot classroom/shop facility, was completed and the N.C. General Assembly enacted a bill that changed “Pitt Technical Institute” to “Pitt Community College.” With the change came the addition of two-year University Transfer programs.

Dr. Charles E. Russell was named PCC’s third president in 1984 and served until 2003.

A Jamesville native, Russell began working at the college in 1971 as director of Adult Basic Education and public relations. He created an indelible legacy, though, as president of the college, combining a work ethic he developed on the family farm as a youngster with keen foresight to help Pitt grow into one of the state’s largest community colleges.

Under Russell’s guidance, PCC added 32 curriculum degree programs and seven new buildings. He helped bring intercollegiate baseball to campus and also led the charge for three major bond referenda to provide continued funding for construction of classroom and lab facilities.

Perhaps his greatest achievement, though, was the decision he made in 1991 to encourage college trustees to spend $2 million in bond revenue, which Pitt County voters approved two years earlier, to purchase 105 acres from the H.L. Bowen heirs, which provided the foundation for much of the college's future growth.

The Learning Resources Center, which is located in the Clifton W. Everett Building, opened in 1987, providing approximately 33,000 square feet of space for library, audiovisual, and media production services and for Individualized Instruction Center services.

The A.B. Whitley Building, a vocational education classroom and lab/shop facility, opened in February 1990. The 32,300-square-foot building provides space for a variety of programs, including Computer Integrated Machining, Architectural Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology and Industrial Systems Technology.

The William E. Fulford Building, a 44,500-square-foot classroom/lab building, was opened in January 1993. This facility provides space for a number of allied health curricula, including Associate Degree Nursing, Radiography, Nuclear Medicine, Respiratory Therapy and Occupational Therapy Assistant. The Health Sciences Division office is located in the Fulford Building.

The Welding/Masonry Building, a 10,750-square-foot facility, was opened in April 1993. This building includes the John Roberts Welding Lab.

The G. Henry Leslie Building was opened in November 1996 to offer 28,556 square feet of space for Continuing Education programs. Today, the Leslie Building hosts a variety of programming, including the college’s Transitional Studies Department.

The Edward and Joan Warren Building opened in January 2000. The building houses PCC’s Charles Coburn Center, which is home to the college’s women’s volleyball and men’s basketball teams, along with offices and classrooms for placement testing, PCC Athletics, TRiO and the Intramural Sports and Recreation program.

The 44,716-square-foot Raymond Reddrick Building was completed and opened in spring 2004. The building includes general classrooms, offices, computer labs and the PCC Student Success Center.

In the fall of 1997, PCC—and the entire N.C. Community College System—converted from a quarter system to a semester system.

Dr. G. Dennis Massey was selected to serve as the college’s fourth president in May 2003. He began his tenure on Aug. 1, bringing with him more than 34 years of experience in higher education in Oregon, Wisconsin, Japan and Illinois. Prior to joining the PCC administration, he served as interim president of McHenry Community College in Crystal Lakes, Illinois.

PCC has experienced considerable growth since Massey’s arrival.

In early 2005, PCC Trustees approved purchase of the 131-acre Davenport property adjacent to campus for future expansion. The board also approved a Facilities Master Plan outlining future growth for the college's main campus.

Later that year, college administrators broke ground on farmland just outside of Bethel, at the site of what would become a multifaceted Public Safety Training Center. Less than 12 months after the groundbreaking ceremony, local law enforcement personnel began training at the center’s newly-constructed pistol and rifle ranges.

In June 2006, PCC commemorated the re-opening of the Humber Building with an open house. The facility had been closed for a little more than a year while undergoing extensive renovations that brought it in line with modern building, energy, and handicap accessibility codes. The $2.6 million needed to refurbish Humber came as part of PCC's portion of an educational bond referendum state voters approved in 2000.

To help alleviate congestion on the main campus during Humber’s renovation, the college purchased the former MacThrift office building on Memorial Drive in Greenville. The facility eventually became the PCC Greenville Center and houses the college’s Continuing Education Division services, including the Small Business Center and law enforcement training programs.

Minges-Overton Baseball Complex began receiving a facelift in November 2006. Improvements made to the park over the next few months included installation of state-of-the-art lighting and construction of Lewis Field House, which was officially dedicated in April 2007.

PCC administrators announced in January 2008 that the college would soon expand its health sciences facilities. That fall, PCC broke ground on the Herman Simon Building, a 35,765-square-foot addition to the Fulford Building named for an ardent PCC supporter and financial advisor with the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation.

To help pay for the Simon Building’s construction, the PCC Foundation launched the college’s first-ever capital campaign in February 2008 and raised more than $7 million in 14 months.

With the start of the 2009 Spring Semester came the opening of the long-awaited and much-needed Craig F. Goess Student Center. Named for a Greenville businessman and PCC supporter who contributed to the center’s construction, the 33,698-square-foot building features a large multipurpose room and cafeteria and provides a one-stop shop for student services, including counseling, financial aid and admissions.

After nearly two years of construction, the Simon Building opened in time for the start of the Fall 2010 Semester. Though many health sciences programs are still located in the Fulford Building, Simon provides the Health Sciences Division with much-needed classroom, laboratory and office space.

Starting with a Construction and Industrial Technology (CIT) Building and Facilities Services Complex, a number of capital improvement projects began in 2010 and significantly expanded PCC’s main campus in the years that followed. College administrators cut the ribbon on both buildings on May 3, 2012. Together, they added more than 90,000 square feet of instructional space, offices and storage areas to the west side of campus at a cost of $10.2 million, with funding coming through a quarter-cent local sales tax Pitt County voters approved in 2007.

The 57,796-square-foot CIT Building, which has since been named for PCC alumnus and local businessman Craig M. Goess, features a center hallway stretching nearly a tenth of a mile, with offices and state-of-the-art classrooms on one side and labs and work bays on the other. The building is home to the Automotive Systems Technology and Building Construction Technology programs.

The main building of the Facilities Services Complex is one story and encompasses 24,462 square feet. The college’s maintenance, grounds, purchasing and courier services are located in the complex, which features offices, a conference room, warehouses, a mail room and carpentry shop.

Later in 2012, college administrators were joined by state and local leaders for the dedication of the Charles E. Russell. Named for the former PCC president, the 54,000-square-foot building features 24 general purpose classrooms and computer labs, 26 offices for faculty and staff, study areas, a pair of conference rooms and a secondary campus data facility. It cost $9.3 million to build, with funding coming from the quarter-cent local sales tax.

Despite the addition of new facilities, PCC remained North Carolina’s most-crowded community college. With that in mind, PCC administrators embarked upon an awareness campaign in 2013 to explain to the community the need for passage of a $19.9 million-bond referendum in order to provide more instructional space on campus.

The efforts paid off in November 2013, when a majority of Pitt County voters supported the bond funding by a 10,735-6,479 margin (62.4 percent).

Of the $19.9 million, the college plans to use $18 million to build a 70,000-square-foot science building on campus to house the biotechnology program and provide much-needed space for science and technology courses.

Remaining bond funds allowed PCC to purchase a building closer to the main campus in Winterville for law enforcement training.

The most recent additions to the PCC landscape came in 2015. A new clock tower was raised into place on the morning of Feb. 20, and a new $3.58 million-addition to the Goess Student Center was opened in April.

Placed outside of the Ed and Joan Warren Building, the 35-foot clock tower was a gift to the PCC Foundation from the Warren Estate. Located near the geographical center of campus, the tower features a four-sided clock and carillons.

The 15,000 square feet added to Goess houses the college bookstore and a variety of services, including a career center, student lounge, offices, conference rooms, and a 45-station computer lab.

Today, PCC awards associate degrees, diplomas and certificates for more than 60 programs and provides adult basic education, literacy training and occupational extension courses. The college serves more than 23,000 credit and non-credit students annually and is the seventh-largest in the 58-member N.C. Community College System.