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President joins Woodhouse, mayor, special guests for dedication of Portsmouth Student Center

Tidewater Community College President Edna Baehre-Kolovani and Provost Michelle Woodhouse joined special guests, students and supporters from the community on Feb. 14 to dedicate the newest addition to the Portsmouth Campus – a multipurpose student center that aims to enhance student engagement and improve academic performance.

Provost Woodhouse is thrilled that students have a center to call their own.The Portsmouth Student Center will host a variety of student organizations, programs and events inside the 57,500 square-foot building that opened on Jan. 13, the first day of the spring semester.  Inside are fitness and recreation rooms, multiple dining options and licensed day care facilities for TCC students and employees. Computer rooms, a gaming lounge, a full-court gymnasium and a multipurpose room are among the other highlights.

“All of these features add up to a facility that brings another dimension to the student experience at the Portsmouth Campus,” Baehre-Kolovani said. “I am truly excited not only for our students, but for the college community and the city of Portsmouth, the city where TCC first took root almost 50 years ago.”

Special guests in attendance included Kenneth Wright, mayor of Portsmouth; Paige Cherry, vice mayor of Portsmouth; Elizabeth Psimas, city councilmember; Richard Bray, president of the Beazley Foundation; Bruce Meyer from the State Board for Community Colleges; and John Padgett, Connie Meyer, John Piscitelli, Rebecca Chalmers and Earnhardt Spencer, Jr., of the TCC College Board.

Wright, a TCC alumnus, said he would have loved having a student center when he attended the college in 1981. “This is truly a great day,” he said. “Two words come to mind: opportunity for students to do things they like and things they’ve never been able to do before and excitement. This building offers learning experiences like no other.”

Provost Woodhouse, Student Center Director Katina Barnes and President Baehre-Kolovani prepare to cut the cake after the dedication ceremony.
Provost Woodhouse, Student Center
Director Katina Barnes and President
Baehre-Kolovani prepare to cut the
cake after the dedication ceremony.

Meyer, also an alumnus of the college, added that, like Wright, he often spent time in between classes in his car. “To fast forward and see this is remarkable,” he said. “It’s a model for all community colleges nationwide.”

Marcus Baker, president of the Student Government Association on the Portsmouth Campus, noted, “Now students can share in similar opportunities as university students.

The Portsmouth Student Center is one of four at TCC. The Norfolk Student Center opened in May 2011. The Virginia Beach Student Center opened on Jan. 13 with an official ribbon-cutting planned for March. The Chesapeake Student Center is scheduled to open later this spring.