PCC president highlights 2017-18 year


By Dean-Paul Stephens
The Enterprise

Friday, August 11, 2017

Improved safety is a major goal for Pitt Community College as it prepares for the 2017-18 academic year which begins Aug. 17.

PCC President Dennis Massey explained what improvements are being pursued during Monday’s Pitt County Board of Commissioners meeting.

“Safety is paramount to what we do in Pitt Community College,” Massey said. “It doesn't make sense to have a great education program and not have a safe environment.”

One of the first steps taken to meet that goal was the hiring of an additional campus police officer with additional funding provided by the county commissioners.

“That will help us tremendously in terms of the safety for our campus,” Massey said.

Pitt Community College also intends to make some changes to campus streets to make it more pedestrian-friendly.

“We are going to expand Reedy Branch Road to improve that safety level (and) reduce and slow down vehicular traffic,” Massey said.

“I feel strongly that we need a stop sign at the intersection of South Warren Drive and Reedy Branch. There is still a lot of speeding going on.”

One project still in need of funding is a locking system for many campus buildings. The doors of many classrooms and offices can't be locked, Massey said, so a system needs to be added to protect students and staff in case of active shooter or other emergencies. The college is pursuing grants to fund the project.

Other renovation and improvement projects are going well.

“We've made great strides in touching up our older buildings and making them more accessible to our students," he said.

Massey also mentioned the success of the schools' Farmville satellite location.

“We're so proud of what we're doing there. We've got a much more active relationship with Farmville Central (as a result),” Massey said.

Some aspects of the 2021 master plan were inspired by county input, Massey said.

“Provide space for growing and focused programs,” Massey said as he highlighted parts of the plan. “That was what (commissioners) had as a priority for your investment of Pitt Community College and, as a result, we've been able to accommodate strong enrollment.”

Pitt Community College ranks sixth in enrollment growth among the state's 58 community colleges.

“That is a testament to what you helped us accomplish in terms of facilities,” Massey said, adding modular buildings have been a cost effective way to accommodate some of the college’s needs.

The community college uses its modular buildings for the Pitt County Early College High School, which has an enrollment of 225 students.

The early college is, however, quickly outgrowing the modular, Massey shared with commissioners. Enrollment at the early college will increase to 375 students within two years, he said.

“So we need a building that will accommodate this group,” he said, adding the community college’s partnership with the Pitt County Schools systems should result in funding assistance.

The Enterprise serves western Pitt County including Falkland, Farmville and Fountain.