HCC Readies Eco-Ready Campus

Hillsborough Community College SouthShore CenterMaking way for a July 2008 unveiling, SouthShore Hillsborough Community College is not only becoming eco-friendly in the fact that it has shortened students commutes but also through the construction of the facility itself.

With its dedication taking place in November, the campus will comprise of a total of six buildings spanning approximately the next five to 10 years for completion in relation to student enrollment rates. Within these facilities, eco-friendly specifications have been made in conjunction with the Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program which include such modifications as raised access flooring, programmed lighting, the use of natural resources such as rainwater, windows which provide natural light, eco-friendly construction materials and much more, all with a price tag of $16.8 million. Though the cost is a bit extravagant, the college foresees long-term savings in water use and energy efficiency.

“HCC has committed to a green building philosophy so that future major construction projects will include considerations for green building components,” states Hillsborough Community College’s SouthShore president George Keith, Ph.D., who mentions that renovations are scheduled for HCC’s Ybor Campus as well. “Educational institutions need to be in the forefront of the green building movement. We have to practice what we preach: stewardship of our environment and our resources.”

Already having four campuses across Hillsborough County, this will be the first for the south county region, not only for HCC but for the secondary educational system as a whole. Measuring 55,000 sq. ft., the South Shore facility will provide an education to up to 5,000 students in the coming years through programs such as nursing, medical assisting, early childhood education and management while currently targeting an enrollment of 400 students in order to provide courses necessary for an associate of arts (A.A.) degree, soon-to-be followed with the associate of science degree (A.S.). Initially, the first building will contain 12 classrooms and five labs. After enough students are registered at the campus, the college will make plans to start its second building which will be the second of six hoped to be built within the site.

The community college is working on a partnership between other universities to make it possible for students to obtain their bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well. “This will take us a few years to build, but we are well along in our discussions with partner universities to make this a reality,” mentions Keith who reveals the college’s proposal to initiate programs for entry in the Tampa workforce as well as continued education for those already employed.

The Hillsborough Community College SouthShore Center will be located at 24th St. and Shell Point Rd. in Ruskin. The site’s educational center, SunPoint Center, is located at 3052 College Ave. E. in Ruskin. For more information, go to www.hccfl.edu/sunpoint.