by: RENDERING COURTESY OF SRG PARTNERSHIP - A new Portland Community College student commons building will be constructed beginning this week on the Southeast Center Campus. The building is part of the college's 2008 bond improvements.Portland Community College breaks ground Tuesday afternoon for its new Southeast Student Commons building to be constructed at 2305 S.E. 82nd Ave.

A handful of officials, including U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, state Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, state Rep. Michael Dembrow, PCC President Preston Pulliams and PCC Board Member Bob Palmer and new Southeast/Extended Learning Campus President Jessica Howard will join in the ceremony at about 3 p.m. A party to celebrate the new campus building is planned from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Construction contractor O’Neill/ Walsh Community Builders LLC is leading the $39 million campus project. The work is funded as part of the college’s 2008 bond improvements.

PCC’s Southeast Center covers about 10 acres, with two buildings and 26 classrooms. When it is completed, the new campus will grow to 18 acres, with six buildings and about 200,000 square feet of space for classes, student programs, two additional computer classrooms and five science/career technical education labs.

This year, more than 11,000 students took credit and non-credit classes at PCC’s Southeast Center. The expanded campus should be able to serve more than 18,000 students.

Tuesday’s groundbreaking marks the beginning of construction on the new student commons, which should be completed in a year. PCC also expects to begin building the new library early in 2013 on the site of the Legin restaurant. A historic 1911 German American Society Building will be preserved and renovated for campus administration offices, community education staff and meeting space.

The Kaiser Clinic site, slated for renovation in 2014, will be home of the future campus childcare development center.

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