New college campus fills need in east Pasco

Pasco-Hernando State College held a grand opening Wednesday for its new Porter campus at Wiregrass Ranch.
 
The campus is expected to spur economic growth in Wesley Chapel.
 
The first thing you'll notice about the Porter campus is that its layout goes up rather than out, which is designed to protect surrounding wetlands.
 
"We have the tallest building in Pasco County, seven floors," Provost Dr. Stanley Giannet said.
 
Inside that building, Giannet said the college is focused on degrees in business, information technology and healthcare. That includes a hospital set up.
 
"These mannequins resemble the anatomy and physiology of an actual human," Giannet said.
 
Officials said the $45 million campus was needed for an area of eastern Pasco County that continues to grow in both population and business. There's a new hospital nearby and plans for Raymond James Financial to open up a large office.
 
"We want to be strategically positioned to provide the workforce development opportunities for those businesses that arrive here. But also for us to have students who will be immediately employable," Giannet said.
 
Classes started in January, and students are already raving about everything from the academic options to the scenic view.
 
"To see the architecture of it how it's all stacked on top of each other was really cool and it's just such a nice facility," student Bethany Speed said.
 
"I think it's going to be a great step for the local public school system, they are going to transition right into here. It's going be a huge economic boom to them. It's also going to drive up real estate prices and also increase revenue at the local businesses," student Edward Rich said.
 
The Porter family donated 60 acres not far from The Shops at Wiregrass for the campus.
 
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