While the students were away, many anticipated improvement and renovation projects were completed. Work was done in the Dale Horton Auditorium (DHA), the Academic Center (AC), The Palms, and Rice Tower, while some maintenance work took place in the MacKenzie Building and Young Tower.
This summer, the DHA underwent its first ever renovation. The auditorium, completed in 1985 and used for chapel services until 2001, regularly hosts recitals, lectures, Sunday Reflections, and Fine Arts productions throughout the school year. The building now features a cooler color palette of blues and greens, displayed by new wall colors, newly upholstered seating, and newly laid carpet. Some of the most difficult changes included replacing and updating air conditioning in the building and renovating the stage. “Probably the most difficult item was the stage floor; the various layers of structure as well as electrical and lighting components was challenging to incorporate coherently,” said PCC’s construction manager Jonathan Abbott.
As for The Palms, PCC welcomed the addition of Chick-fil-A alongside The Grille and Papa John’s menu. “We’re running about a 90 percent menu, which means almost everything that you can get at a [Chick-fil-A] franchise location, you can get in our licensed-unit location, which is not typical,” said campus retail manager Toby Baker. “Most of the time, a licensed-unit location will have two or three sandwiches, fries, and that’s about all; but we’re carrying salads, nuggets, the full breakfast line, and the Icedream.”
To accommodate for Chick-fil-A, The Palms kitchen, back counter space, and register counter were reworked to efficiently utilize all of the available space. “Rest assured, there is not a square inch of the kitchen that isn’t used for something productive,” said Abbott.
In the AC, construction on 2nd and 3rd floor accommodated for growing departments and provided additional classroom space and faculty offices. “Student Life will now exist wholly on 3rd floor and in a concentrated way,” said Abbott. “College academics gains three additional classrooms where the old Student Life offices used to be. We have been able to add several faculty offices to the building as well.”
Rice Tower’s first occupants are now enjoying the new residence hall. In preparation for occupancy, over ten departments finished out the building’s details and furnishings over the summer. Students also found a new raised crosswalk spanning Rawson Lane to make crossing easier. “In a phrase—[it’s for] dry feet,” Abbott explained, referencing Florida’s much-loved heavy rains.
Each renovation, update, and addition was carefully planned with purpose and efficiency in mind. Now that the fall semester has begun, PCC is glad to share these updated facilities with students.