Campus & Community

Grand opening ceremony Feb. 28 for new PBSC campus

The Loxahatchee Groves campus opens for classes Feb. 27, and the grand opening ceremony is set for Feb. 28. Photo by Kari W. McCormick.

Palm Beach State College is holding a grand opening ceremony Feb. 28 for its new campus in Loxahatchee Groves. More than 600 students will begin classes there the day before.

The grand opening ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. and include a ribbon cutting and tours of the first 50,000-square-foot, three-story building on the Dennis P. Gallon Campus. The campus name honors the former long-term president whose portrait will be unveiled and will adorn an entrance wall. Among the planned speakers are town and state elected officials who supported or were instrumental in securing approval or funding for the campus.  The campus, located at 15845 Southern Blvd., sits on 75 acres west of B Road. It has entrances on Southern Boulevard and B-Road. There is also access through the nearby Publix shopping plaza.

“This has been a long time coming. I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of this important stage in our College’s history. We are here as a response to our community needs for higher education,’’ said Dr. Maria Vallejo, vice president of growth and expansion and provost of the Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves campuses. “As I go around and speak to Rotary clubs and chambers, people are very excited and supportive.”

Gallon, who retired in 2015 after 18 years, is credited with having the vision more than a decade ago to study and pursue expansion of higher education and job training to the county’s growing west-central area that also includes Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Wellington and The Acreage.  With the incorporation last year of Westlake, Palm Beach County’s 39th municipality, more growth may be expected. The Loxahatchee Groves campus is the College’s fifth campus and the first built in more than 30 years.

The grand opening ceremony is among several events being planned during the week of the March 2 investiture ceremony for Palm Beach State President Ava L. Parker, J.D., who succeeded Gallon. Parker helped the College secure the remaining $9 million from the state Legislature to complete the first building, which includes classrooms, computer labs, administrative offices, a 250-seat lecture hall and ancillary support spaces.  The College’s master facilities plan currently calls for two additional buildings in the near future for this phase, depending on enrollment and the availability of construction funding. The next two buildings would include labs, a library/study space, a cafeteria and study center.

As of Feb. 13, 614 students have enrolled at the campus, but registration is still underway for the mostly 10-week classes that are being offered specifically for students on that campus this term. Those courses largely count toward the Associate in Arts degree. Existing PBSC students can still register online to take classes there. New students interested in attending the campus can still apply to the College online and get prepared to start before the first day of classes.

Health sciences and technology, which are the focus of the first phase of the campus, will be offered later this year. Those career programs include: the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, which will start in the fall; and Health Information Technology Associate in Science degree, Health Informatics Specialist certificate, Medical Information Coder/Biller certificate and Medical Transcription technical diploma, which all start in the summer.

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