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STLCC Breaks Ground for New Harrison Education Center

June 12, 2009

Harrison Center groundbreaking  
Officials of St. Louis Community College were joined by state, city and community
leaders in breaking ground for the college's new Harrison Education Center in the
JeffVanderLou Neighborhood.












St. Louis Community College officials were joined by state, city and community leaders today to break ground for the new William J. Harrison Education Center, located at 3140 Cass Avenue in the city’s JeffVanderLou Neighborhood.

"This center, surely, is another wonderful example of our commitment to providing the best education possible to our students and of our desire to make a very real difference in the life of this community," Robert Nelson, chair of the STLCC Board of Trustees, said to a crowd of nearly 200 who attended the groundbreaking.

The college purchased the property between 2007 and 2009 to provide a permanent site for classes on the city’s North Side. Located near both Vashon High School and the Clyde C. Miller Academy, the new Harrison Center will be ideally positioned to leverage learning partnerships and provide enhanced educational opportunities for residents of an underserved community.

“St. Louis Community College exists to strengthen individuals and communities,” said Chancellor Zelema Harris. “The new Harrison Center will provide bridges to new opportunities to improve the quality of life for citizens in a very challenged, yet growing neighborhood.” 

Operated by STLCC-Forest Park, the center will serve the population of north St. Louis City and part of north St. Louis County. The current Harrison Center, a space with only two classrooms, has been operating out of the old Julia Davis Library Building at 4666 Natural Bridge Road since August 1994. The center was named in honor of the late William J. Harrison, who played a major role in helping the college establish this off-site learning center. He served as associate dean of academic support and continuing education at Forest Park until his death in June 1994. The center has provided education and outreach services annually to more than 6,000 individuals.

Ironically, the ceremony took place on the day Harrison would have turned 74 years old.

“Bill was a great person who was very dedicated to the community and to young people, and gave unselfishly,” said Mary C. “Mikki” Brewster, a family friend and former STLCC trustee. “Bill would be so proud.”

Scheduled to open for classes in fall 2010, the new center will offer credit and non-credit courses in environmental sciences, allied health, computers/technology, and workforce training and development.

The 31,000-square-foot facility will feature an art studio, science and computer labs, five classrooms, multi-purpose community room, bookstore, commons area and outreach center.

The primary entrance will include a transparent elevator tower as a focal point and feature a large, light-filled central atrium and open seating areas on the second floor overlooking the atrium. The building will contain the latest high-tech audio-visual equipment and will provide wireless connectivity throughout.

The Harrison Center will be the first "green" higher education facility of its kind in St. Louis City. It has been designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification, the second-highest achievable as designated by the U.S. Green Building Council. Certification is based on the number of points the design attains in five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

“Green” elements incorporated into the new center will include: controllability of lighting and thermal control systems, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, indoor chemical and pollutant source control, and use of recycled materials in the building’s construction.