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College Breaks Ground for Science Building

2015 Science Building Groundbreaking

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College administrators broke ground Thursday at the site of the college’s future science and technology training center.

The ceremony took place on PCC’s main campus, across Warren Drive from the Craig M. Goess Construction and Industrial Technology Building.

Designed by JKF Architecture’s John Farkas, the 75,000-square-foot building will feature 10 classrooms, 11 labs, a biotechnology center, a 120-seat auditorium, a STEM learning center and a science tutorial center. It will cost more than $16 million to build and equip, with funding coming from a $19.9 million-bond Pitt County voters approved in 2013 and a $2 million-U.S. Economic Development Administration grant.

“This will expand our offerings in science and math at a time they are more important than ever to employers,” said PCC President G. Dennis Massey. “It will also free up space in other areas, particularly with health sciences (programs) … and help us expand our commitment particularly to college transfer and pharmaceutical businesses in the area.”

In addition to hosting physics and biology classes, Massey says the science building will allow the college to move its biotechnology program to campus. PCC currently utilizes the Tech Enterprise Center of Eastern North Carolina on Greene Street in Greenville for biotech training. The county-owned facility was supposed to be a short-term arrangement when the deal was made 12 years ago.

Christy Weeks, PCC Biotechnology Department Chair, said her program can presently serve no more than 20 students at a time, due to space constraints. The new science building, she says, will allow for more students, additional equipment for training, and better utilization of resources between the college’s science-related programs.

Pitt County Commissioner Beth Ward, who spoke during Thursday’s groundbreaking, says the science building will help the county attract new businesses and industries that offer good-paying jobs.

Ward says that when the county recruits new pharmaceutical businesses, “they always ask us about our ability to train workers, whether they are on the assembly line or engineers.” She expressed her gratitude to Pitt County citizens for their support of PCC and added that she was “very pleased” they were given the opportunity to vote for bond funding that will be used to construct the science building.

Former PCC Student Government Association President LaQuon Rogers also attended Thursday’s ceremony. Rogers, who graduated from PCC earlier this year and is now majoring in business at East Carolina University, played a key role in informing the PCC student body and community of the college’s need for passage of the 2013 bond referendum.

“I always believed this day would come and that we would reap the harvest of our labors,” he said. “It’s an awesome feeling to stand on the ground where the building will be built and know it will come to pass. It also makes me thankful to the people of Pitt County.”

Farmville-based Farrior & Sons, Inc., will begin construction of the science building this fall. The facility is scheduled to open for classes in 2017.

When completed, the science and technology center will be PCC’s 29th building.