Construction underway for students in the medical field

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Kotonai Ochiai / Staff Photographer
The first floor of the Cascade building currently houses the EMS, Veterinarian (on the right), and Dental hygiene (on the left) programs.

Space for students will be expanded and be

completed by Fall of 2021

Many students may know of Pierce College’s ever-growing dental hygiene, veterinary technology, and EMS programs. Students who are part of these departments are often seen walking around campus in their scrubs after a long day of class. These are three important departments that require lots of space and updated technology for students to be successful in their studies and workplace. 

To combat the growing population of people joining these programs, a new building on Pierce College’s Fort Steilacoom campus is in the early stages of planning. With a proposed completion date of Fall of 2021, this building will provide much more room for opportunities with the advanced technology it will provide.

Choi Halladay, vice president of administrative services at Pierce College, emphasizes the needs of students who are part of these programs, and how this construction will benefit them. “This will expand the amount of space that they have by a lot,” says Halladay. “It will make it all state of the art, and a space that represents the kinds of work environments that most of the students would actually go to work in.” 

In fact, for the veterinarian department, it’s not only the students who need the extra space. According to Salvador Hurtado, the Veterinary Technology Program Director, this expansion will provide an opportunity for different animals’ environment to be taken care of as well. 

As veterinary students, Hurtado states that it’s important to have access to animals that can be worked with. This need is something that this development will focus on. In addition to larger areas for animals to roam and exercise, there will also be external windows for them to see outside.

Jezreel Proo’ / Staff Illustration

Anyone part of an intensive educational program is likely to understand the importance of this simulated experience; it is necessary to be successful in whatever field one is going into. It’s also important to have enough room to work comfortably in, in contrast to a smaller space that restricts a student’s productivity. 

“This building will have more student-dedicated space,” adds Hurtado. “There will be more study areas, and places for students to hang out in. This way, there won’t be as much time spent walking from building to building to eat lunch or find a quiet place to work.”

As the construction of this building is still in the beginning stages, it’s too soon to determine any specific unique features. However, Halladay has a main idea of what staff are looking for in this new building. “We are trying to create layouts where it’s really efficient. Where an instructor can move from place to place and help a lot of different students doing different things simultaneously.” 

Halladay continues in saying that this way, students are able to multitask with working on a project, while getting the help they need from professors. Forming a space where students have this access is valuable as it gives everyone a chance to learn the most that they can, even while working outside the classroom.

Upon hearing about these new renovations, some students may be worried about how this may affect their time at Pierce in ways such as tuition and parking. However, Halladay assures that there will be no increases in tuition or fees as a result of the new building. Parking will not pose an issue once construction is complete. Halladay confirms that a few additional spots are likely to be added, but there should be an appropriate amount of spaces now for more students to park in.

This expansion of dental hygiene, EMS, and veterinary technology is something that students can look forward to in the future. With these new facilities, it will provide help with getting closer to their goals while at Pierce College.