PDCCC working on water issues

Published 3:54 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

FRANKLIN—If you have driven by Paul D. Camp Community College recently, you’ve probably got a question.

Paul D. Camp Community College President Paul Wm. Conco watches John Austin Sr., of Angel's Painting Plus, paint a wall in the library. -- Cain Madden | Tidewater News

Paul D. Camp Community College President Paul Wm. Conco watches John Austin Sr., of Angel’s Painting Plus, paint a wall in the library. — Cain Madden | Tidewater News

Just what is that orange fencing around the Regional Workforce Development Center?

“At least 200 people have asked about it,” joked President Paul Wm. Conco. “The orange fence around the Workforce Development Center is a project to help with the water.”

Two of the rooms in the center are sunk into the ground, and they were designed that way — the problem is when a big rain comes.

“When there is a huge rain, the water builds up and floods the two rooms,” Conco said. “This project will mitigate the water problem. It will drain water away from the building.”

He said that it will also add French drains, which will slow down the pace of the water. In addition, the college will do some additional landscaping of the area and add an additional retention pond.

As a side benefit, Conco said, a walking trail will be restored.

“We will tie it around the building and with the sidewalk system,” he said. “You’ll see work over the next several months. We hope to finish before the end of the summer.”

In other news, the college is also working to make the library more digital friendly by adding computers.

Conco added that the library was now open seven days a week, to the benefit of both students and patrons in the community.

“The library is really popular on Sunday, especially for the community,” he said.

Library patrons have access to high-speed Internet and WiFi, computers, iPads, thousands of real books and millions of digital books and journals.

A new digital sign is also in the works, which will go on the corner of Armory Drive and North College Drive.

“It will help us with security,” Conco said. “We can put a digital message on that.”

He said he hopes that the library work will be completed in April, and that the sign will be completed over the summer.

The college is also increasing its education for trades. It will be doing more with mechatronics-robotics, and adding skill trades programs, including truck driving, plumbing, carpentry and HVAC.

Allied health programs are also on the rise, such as an LPN partnership with Southampton Memorial Hospital. The school is also expanding on its EMT program and looking into physical therapy.

Another initiative is serving the community, and a big one is college readiness.

“Lots of students come and are not college ready in math, English, or both,” Conco said. “One of our biggest initiatives is the math academy, which is open on Saturdays, where we offer free tutoring.

“If you come in without math skills, look at the career paths not open to you? You’ve got to have them.”

There are programs for veterans and also encore learning for people ages 55 and older.

The Barnes and Noble bookstore is also open to the public, and the movie nights at the workforce development center continue to grow, said Conco.

The college is also working on its career coach program, and Conco in particular mentioned the high school career coaches.

“Too many students major in ‘I don’t know,’’” he said. “We also help students with dual enrollment.”