PCC Appreciative of Bond Funding Support
$19.9 Million Bond Referendum Passes with 62 Percent of the Vote
WINTERVILLE—Just hours after a $19.9 million bond referendum passed by a 10,735-6,479 margin, a group of Pitt Community College students and employees stood alongside Highway 11 to express their appreciation to Pitt County voters.
Giving a thumbs up to passing motorists and waving signs that expressed their gratitude for the support shown to their college, the students and employees made the typical morning commute a little more festive on Wednesday.
“Our voters are what we’re about,” explained PCC President G. Dennis Massey. “Pitt Community College is based on the people, and we needed the people’s endorsement. They gave it to us; we need to thank them, and we showed that this morning and will continue to show that.”
For the past several months, PCC administrators have carried out an awareness campaign to explain to the community the need for bond funding in order to provide more instructional space on campus.
Those efforts paid off Tuesday, when a majority of Pitt County voters (62.4 percent) voted to support bond funding that will allow the college to construct a 70,000-square-foot science building and move law enforcement training closer to the main campus.
“We worked hard, we communicated—as the Pitt County Commissioners asked us to—to a broad cross section of voters, and they supported us … 62 percent,” Massey said. “I think it’s a great endorsement.”
Massey noted that the awareness campaign to provide bond referendum details to the community turned out to be a learning experience for college administrators as well.
“We learned a lot in this campaign on how we can improve, on what we can do better, and we’re going to work to be an improving institution,” he said.
Massey pledged that PCC would be a good steward of the funding voters approved on election day.
“We will be very responsible with this funding,” he said. “We will do what we said we are going to do. We’re going to move forward with planning construction of the science building and moving our law enforcement training center.”
Of the $19.9 million, Massey said $18 million would go toward the science building, which will provide a home for the college’s biotechnology program and much-needed space for a variety of science and technology courses.
PCC is currently utilizing the county-owned Tech Enterprise Center of Eastern North Carolina on Greene Street in Greenville for biotech training. It was supposed to be a short-term arrangement when the deal was made 10 years ago.
Remaining bond funds will allow PCC to move law enforcement training closer to the main campus in Winterville. Students in the program currently train at the PCC Greenville Center on Memorial Drive and in a warehouse behind that building.
In 2012, the college trained more than 5,000 public safety officers through its Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) programs and an array of in-service programming for various law enforcement agencies, such as the N.C. Highway Patrol, Greenville Police Department and Pitt County Sheriff’s Office.
Once law enforcement training has its new home, Massey says the classrooms and facilities the program is currently using will be repurposed to provide specialized training for local business and industry.
Since 1989—the last time the college sought bond funding from Pitt County voters—PCC’s enrollment has doubled. In fact, curriculum enrollment, which reached a record 9,117 students this fall, has grown 38 percent in just the past five years. As a result, statistics show Pitt is easily the state’s most crowded community college.
“I think it’s going to be a great future for us, and I hope I don’t have to say that we are the most crowded of all 58 community colleges in the State of North Carolina,” Massey said.