Construction costs estimated at $45.9 million
By B.C. Manion
Officials from Pasco-Hernando Community College (PHCC) anticipate that the construction of Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch will be completed in 2014.
Of course, that’s barring any unforeseen factors, including major storms that could set back the timetable, said Lucy Miller, executive director of marketing and public relations for the college.
The new campus, with an estimated construction price tag of $45.9 million, is being built on Mansfield Boulevard, next to Wiregrass Ranch High.
The location is situated in an area that’s among the fastest growing regions in Florida. It is directly across the road from a site that Raymond James, an international financial services company, has under contract with the Porter family — who donated the land for the new PHCC satellite campus.
PHCC officials expect the new campus to attract a large student population, but it is too soon to tell if it will become the busiest location, Miller said.
The college is estimating an opening enrollment of about 1,200 students, which is similar to the student population at PHCC’s Spring Hill Campus when it opened in August 2010, Miller said.
She also noted that statewide and national trends show many students attend college part-time while working to pay for college expenses. PHCC is experiencing that, as well, but it is difficult to anticipate future enrollment trends, Miller said.
Miller said the college anticipates partnerships to develop that will benefit area employers as well as the college’s students, but those details are not yet available.
She noted that Randy Stovall, the provost of the college system’s East Campus in Dade City, is vice president of the Wesley Chapel Chamber’s board of directors, and PHCC already has participated in some programs with the chamber including its health and wellness fair.
When designing Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, Florida Architects, Inc. incorporated suggestions from a 20-member design team made up of PHCC administrators, faculty, staff and a student representative. The team provided guidance on the overall design of the campus and contributed to the development of space for classrooms, labs, the library and space where students can gather to study and socialize, Miller said.
The college expects to have approximately 30 to 35 employees at the new campus.
It also plans to seek certification for the project from Green Global, an internationally respected environmental certification organization, Miller said.