Jessica Howard worked her way through the crowded tent on Portland Community College’s Southeast campus Tuesday afternoon, greeting lawmakers, college administrators and everyone else who stopped her to say hello.
The ceremony to celebrate the start of a $34 million expansion project was a watershed moment for PCC and Howard, who took over as the Southeast campus president in August.
The expansion will add a library, a student commons, a bookstore, greenspace, new classrooms, science labs and retail space. Enrollment is expected to grow from 11,000 to 18,000.
“It’s a very exciting time to be here,” Howard said Tuesday, a few hours before the ceremony. “Southeast Portland has been historically underserved. So I think it will meet a large need.”