Health campus, transit facility launched amid fanfare
- Joe Lang
- Forest Grove News-Times - News
Pacific University's second health professions campus is now online
A looming threat of rain failed to dampen the spirits of more than 200 supporters on hand to celebrate the opening of Pacific University's second Health Professions Campus building and the addition of a five-story Intermodal Transit Facility in Hillsboro Aug. 31.
The late afternoon ceremony featured dignitaries from the city, district partners and politicians responsible for securing key funding for the state-of-the-art facilities.
Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey welcomed the crowd of local residents and employees of Health Education District partners Pacific, Tuality Healthcare, the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center and Portland Community College.
'The Health and Education District is a critical part of downtown Hillsboro,' Willey said. 'These partners are going to help us keep our downtown area vital, and it is certainly going to be fun to watch this develop over the next several years.'
Rep. David Edwards (D-Hillsboro) and state Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro), who worked closely with the partners to secure state funding, enthusiastically endorsed Willey's sentiment with remarks of their own.
'This represents another economic milestone for our community,' Edwards said. 'In addition to creating jobs in of itself, the district has potential to serve as a catalyst for business and job growth, and accordingly, revitalize downtown.'
Starr praised the intermodal transit facility as a great example of what Hillsboro is about. 'It's about bringing everybody together, finding creative and innovative solutions,' he said.
The event also drew Rep. Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro) and officials from the offices of U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Portland) and Rep. David Wu (D-Raleigh Hills).
Speaking for their respective organizations were Tuality chief executive Dick Stenson, Pacific president Lesley Hallick, Virginia Garcia chief operating officer Maria Loredo and PCC president Preston Pulliams.
The district, officially recognized by the Hillsboro City Council earlier this summer, launched in 2006 with the opening of Pacific's Health Professions Campus adjacent to Tuality Community Hospital on Southeast Eighth Avenue.
In addition to housing classrooms and faculty offices for Pacific's growing College of Health Professions, the first HPC building, now known as Creighton Hall, has housed Virginia Garcia's Hillsboro clinic since its opening.
The 59,000-square-foot building, dubbed HPC2, has increased space in Creighton Hall for Virginia Garcia to relocate its Hillsboro pharmacy near the first-floor clinic from the lower level. Additionally, Pacific's School of Professional Psychology, previously housed in Creighton Hall and downtown Portland, consolidated its locations into one site at HPC2.
The new building also houses the office of vice provost and executive dean Ann Barr, the School of Occupational Therapy, research facilities for the School of Pharmacy, human anatomy labs, classrooms, a student lounge, mail center and the graduate admissions office.
Hallick thanked the politicians, Hillsboro officials, Tuality, Virginia Garcia and Pacific staff for their roles in making the ITF and HPC2 a reality. Additionally, she thanked Forest Grove mayor Pete Truax and former mayor Richard Kidd for that city's role as the bond authority for HPC2.
'Creighton Hall was our first building here in Hillsboro, in partnership with Tuality, the city and Virginia Garcia,' Hallick said. 'That, both programmatically and physically, made it possible for us to pull all our different health professions together in one location and give them cutting-edge facilities. Even before then, though, the partnerships were already in place.'
The growing demand for patient services at Tuality hospital, Virginia Garcia and Pacific's HPC resulted in a joint effort by the partners and the City to finance the environmentally friendly intermodal transit facility, which will open in mid-September.
Situated along the MAX Blue Line, the transit facility is powered largely by SolarWorld panels on the top floor. The 20,000-square-foot transit facility features 794 parking spaces, 13 charging stations for electric vehicles, 40 bicycle racks, lockers, restrooms, showers and a bicycle service area. 'The ITF is a benchmark facility for sustainability unmatched anywhere in the region,' Willey told the crowd.
Portland Community College's decision to relocate its Hillsboro Education Center to the first level of the transit space solidifies its partnership with the city and could potentially spur collaboration with Tuality, Pacific and Virginia Garcia. More than 500 students take coursework at PCC's Hillsboro location, and Pulliams said PCC also expects to provide classes for more than 200 English as second language students.