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At the Forefront of Change: PGCC Expands UTC

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Article by: Jennifer L. Colter

It’s been said that Prince George’s Community College is the county’s premier gem–and perhaps a best-kept secret in Metropolitan Washington. Sure, we have high-profile business and community leaders visit our campus frequently, and we’re a designated stop along the political campaign trail. Even the White House has Alonia on speed dial. But there’s much more to this institution than a Who’s Who of friends and partners. The “thing” that makes PGCC unique is its ability to consistently grow and assimilate to the constantly evolving rigors of higher education. Year after year, semester after semester, PGCC meets the needs of a rapidly-growing community that is charged with keeping pace with a global market.

Although the Largo campus is considered the hub of PGCC, the College’s pulse can be felt around the beltway. And one place in particular is beating off the charts with a major expansion program well underway. Read on to see how PGCC is continuing its mission to embrace diversity, preparing bright students for successful futures, and transforming the lives of more than 40,000 students…and counting!

Here’s what’s happening up the road at University Town Center:
PGCC at University Town Center (UTC) is the largest of the College’s off-campus locations.  Situated in the western part of the county, it serves a densely populated area with a high immigrant population.  In a typical semester, nearly two-thirds of the students at the center were born outside the United States, with the largest number of students coming from Africa.

UTC has twelve full-time and eight part-time staff members. Services provided on site include application processing, placement testing (twice a week), advising and registration, and access to main campus financial aid staff via Skype.  UTC had been operating at full capacity for several years.  As a result, on August 22, 2013, the College entered into a new lease agreement with The Bernstein Companies to significantly expand operations at University Town Center.  Construction on the new space began during the last week of March, 2014.  When completed, in August 2014, the center will have grown from 31,150 square feet on the second floor of the building to approximately 75,000 square feet, including parts of the ground and first floors of the building.

The new first-floor space will include nine staff offices and eight classrooms for WDCE, plus a conference room and large flex room for contract training offered by CBIT.  A fitness room for WDCE’s Wellness, Fitness, and Exercise programs will be located on the ground floor.

For Academic Affairs, the expansion will include eight new classrooms on the first floor, in addition to the following improvements:

  • Open computer lab capacity is increasing from 19 to 48, and the new open lab will also include three breakout rooms where small groups of up to four students can work together.
  • The previous open lab (room 247) will be converted into an instructional lab with a capacity of 20.  This modification will enable UTC to respond to the increasing demand for courses such as EGL-1010, NTR-1010, and ACC-2001 to be taught in a computer lab.
  • A dedicated Student Services training room for functions such as Owl Success Track activities, Career and Job Services programming, Retention Services activities, and Financial Aid workshops.  The room will also serve as the location for professional development activities for faculty and staff.
  • An assessment center with seating for 18.  This space, and the addition of a part-time testing proctor, should enable an increase in the number of placement testing sessions from two per week to three per week, as well as allowing WDCE to bring Pearson Vue testing to the site.
  • Two Biology labs, each with a capacity of 24 are being developed on the ground floor of the building, along with a large lecture room seating 48 to enable two lab sections to share the same lecture.
  • The former biology lab and lecture room on the second floor are being converted into two computer-equipped classrooms for modular/self-paced instruction in developmental mathematics.  Each of these “Math Redesign” rooms will have a 24 student capacity.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Dennis Huffman at (301) 277-5934 ext 309 or dhuffman@pgcc.edu.

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