PENDLETON --- Tri-County Technical College and Juneau Construction celebrated a milestone in the construction of the College's $42-million Student Success Center with a topping off ceremony Thursday to commemorate the last piece of structural steel being put into place.

In building construction, a topping off ceremony is held to acknowledge when the last beam is placed atop a structure during its construction.

As part of the ceremony, Tri-County President Ronnie L. Booth, College Commissioners and Royce Elliott, chief operating officer for Juneau Construction, and Davis Myers, vice president for business development, signed the beam.  Earlier, students, faculty, staff and construction crew members signed the 20 x 14 ft. steel beam.

Both Dr. Booth and Elliott called the project a "model partnership" and acknowledged the "team approach and collaborative effort" among both parties, as well as the "excellent" work of the subcontractors and construction crew.

Targeted completion date for the Student Success Center is December 27, 2017.   Opening day is the first day of classes in January 2018. 

"We are on schedule, on budget and right where we need to be," said Elliott, adding that it has been an accident-free site since construction began last summer.

Dr. Booth also thanked the College's Commission for its "unrelenting support for the Student Success Center which will help students we don't even know be successful for the next 50 years.  I'm looking forward to December when we will be here cutting the ribbon for the grand opening."

The College broke ground September 16, 2016, on the 75,000-square-foot Student Success Center, the first new building on the Pendleton Campus in two decades.

"This is a milestone day in the history of our College," Dr. Booth told a crowd of county officials, legislators, community partners, faculty, staff and students who crowded Fulp Plaza to witness this long-awaited day.

The project will include a new building that houses a learning commons, library collections; meeting spaces; computer labs; study areas; supplemental instruction and tutoring spaces; Student Development Offices; Information Technology Services; College Bookstore; Café, Printing Services; shipping and receiving and a central chiller plant and chilled water loop.

The project also includes a complete renovation of Ruby Hicks Hall.

The Student Success Center is a key component of Tri-County Technical College's strategy to increase student success, reduce long-term maintenance costs and address double-digit enrollment growth.  "Student support facilities were built 25 or more years ago and are designed to accommodate about 3,500 students.  The College now serves around 5,000 students at the Pendleton Campus.  Currently students sit in the halls to study and are cramped into nooks and crannies all over campus. Our current café is woefully inadequate to meet students' needs. There is very little place for them to work on team projects and study together. This Center will increase space allocated to students and their academic support," Dr. Booth said.

"The Student Success Center is important to achieve our mission and fundamental to delivering a transformative student experience and an investment in our students' success," he said.