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College now aiming for early 2021 opening of 31,000 square foot manufacturing facility

COURTESY PHOTO: PORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE - The planned Portland Community College Learning Center in Scappoose will include rooms for mechatronics, welding, fabrication, precision measurement, computer-aided design and programmable logic controllers.Portland Community College shared updates on its plans for the OMIC Training Center in PCC earlier this week.

The long-awaited facility hit a snag this summer when the owners of the planned 17-acre property backed out of the sale after nearly a year of negotiations. PCC exercised its right of eminent domain, which allows government entities to force landowners to sell.

"Our hope and expectation is that we can look to open the doors in winter or spring of 2021," Andrew Lattanner told the Scappoose City Council on Monday, Dec. 16.

Leveling the land had already begun Monday.

"We're hoping that there are going to be shovels in the ground very soon," he added.

In June, PCC leaders had predicted an earlier date, with the Training Center opening in fall 2020 and construction beginning over the summer of 2019.

The 31,000-square-foot facility would include a 16-bay welding facility, mechatronics lab, open manufacturing floor and precision measurement lab.

"As we've learned, if you've spent any time at OMIC R&D, precision measurement is becoming an increasingly needed skill set," Lattanner said.

The facility would also house a fabrication laboratory, or fab lab.

"I think this is something that's really exciting for this community because, not only will the 3-D printers and laser printers and maker equipment be useful for this entire facility, this is a way we can engage the entire community," Lattanner said.

Projects from prototyping products for a new business idea to making stickers will be possible in the fab lab.

The facility will also include a board room, which Lattanner hopes to make available to community groups who need a meeting space, and two classrooms.

Though the facility will only have two classrooms, many of the classes will take place in the center's labs. Lattanner said the school was confident the two classrooms would be enough, given the hands-on learning most classes will use.

"These classrooms will definitely support the learning that's going on in the training center, but we also have flexibility to make sure that this facility responds to the needs of this community," Lattanner said.

PCC leaders have said the college plans to offer general education classes for Columbia County residents in those classrooms, in addition to the specialized manufacturing programs the facility is built for.

The planned 31,000-square-foot facility is less than half the size of the 69,000-square-foot Otto Petersen Elementary School in Scappoose, but with the 17-acre property, PCC will have room to expand.


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