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Pitt County Government Officials Visit Campus for Meeting with College Administrators

PCC President Rouse standing at podium addressing Pitt County government officials and college administrators.

PHOTO GALLERY

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College Trustees and administrators welcomed Pitt County Commissioners and various county government officials to campus Thursday for a discussion on the progress of current and future educational partnerships and projects.

Pitt County Manager Janis Gallagher was on hand for the meeting and said having county government representatives come together with PCC administrators to “discuss topics of mutual concern” helps strengthen relationships at both the board and staff levels. She said the meeting at Pitt was well attended and featured informative presentations on how the college is working to develop a skilled local workforce.

“Listening to one another and hearing updates on activities allows us to identify opportunities for continued collaboration so that we can best serve our community,” Gallagher said, adding that PCC and Pitt County Government working together truly makes a positive impact on the community.

Thursday’s meeting provided PCC Vice President of Finance/CFO Ricky Brown an opportunity to update commissioners on the college’s future Welding Technology Building. Pitt County Commissioners have agreed to provide funding for construction of the projected $15.3 million-structure, which will offer much-needed space to PCC’s popular welding program.

“Thank you for increasing our ability to produce welders,” PCC President Lawrence Rouse told county officials. “You may not be aware of it, but we have the largest welding program in North Carolina. Graduates from the program are finding jobs in the area with good pay, too.”

PCC’s current welding enrollment is approximately 400 students, with 185 of them taking courses in the Masonry/Welding Building on Pitt’s main campus and the remainder spread out at five high school feeder programs. Though the Masonry/Welding Building no longer hosts masonry courses, it only provides enough space for 44 welding booths, a fabrication area and two classrooms.

After touring PCC’s current welding facility, which opened in April 1993, two years ago, Brown said Pitt County officials expressed interest in funding a new, approximately 30,000 square foot welding building that features 96 welding booths, including space for robotic welding instruction. PCC administrators are still seeking funding to purchase equipment for the building, but the construction process is moving along. Brown said JKF Architecture created a design for the facility and submitted it to the North Carolina State Construction Office for approval in December 2023.

PCC’s future welding training facility will be located on the college’s main campus, adjacent to Minges-Overton Baseball Complex. Brown said administrators are hoping construction can begin in May and that the building is ready for occupation by November 2025.

While the welding program awaits its new home, many Pitt students are already benefitting from a new public transportation partnership between the college and Pitt County that involves Pitt Area Transit System (PATS) buses. Brian Jones, PCC assistant vice president of enrollment services, provided an update on the successful venture, which has made it easier for county residents to pursue higher education.

Since Jan. 5, when the new transportation services officially began, Jones said PATS had made 771 trips to and from Pitt’s campus to drop off and pick up students from all areas of Pitt County except Greenville city limits, which offers GREAT Bus service. He said students who have utilized PATS vary in age, from 18 to 38 years old, and represent a wide variety of curricula, including HVAC, mechanical engineering, criminal justice, architectural technology, business administration and biotechnology.

“Without PATS, many of these students probably wouldn’t be able to pursue their studies at PCC,” Jones said. “Students and their families are thankful for PATS transportation services, and PCC is grateful for this wonderful partnership with PATS and looking forward to the program continuing to grow in the future.”

Gallagher said that by making the most of county resources already operating within the community, the PCC-PATS partnership “reflects an innovative approach” to addressing student transportation needs.

“Brian Jones with the college and Misty Chase with Pitt County have demonstrated the powerful impact of effective collaboration in reducing barriers and increasing access to education,” Gallagher said, adding that “education is Pitt County Government’s number one priority.”

Jones said PCC students interested in signing up for PATS services may do so by contacting him at cbjones0288@my.pittcc.edu. He added that there is no cost to students for the transportation PATS provides.

02/26/2024