The site of the William J. Harrison Education Center before its construction. The center was named after the late William J. Harrison, the former Associate Dean of Academic Support and Continuing Education at St. Louis Community College’s Forest Park campus. Mr. Harrison played an instrumental role in establishing this off-site education center, and served his role as Associate Dean with distinction until his death in June 1994.
Twenty-one of the 29 parcels assembled for this project were tax foreclosed properties (shaded in red) acquired by the Land Reutilization Authority over time and subsequently transferred to St. Louis Community College in February 2009; the remaining parcels were acquired between 2006 and 2009. Upon completion of due diligence related to the transfer of these parcels, the community college discovered that historic industrial uses of the site had resulted in soil contamination, specifically lead and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); the groundwater had been impacted by naphthalene.
The St. Louis Development Corporation Board of Directors approved a sub-grant from the Brownfields Cleanup Fund at its May 2009 meeting. The college’s consultant assembled an Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives and presented to the public at a community input meeting held in June 2009.
An artist’s rendering. The center was designed to achieve Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification, the second-highest achievable designation for a built environment under the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). In addition to being built using environmentally-friendly materials and architecture, it was designed to enhance occupant comfort and health, reduce operating costs, conserve natural resources and reduce the building's impact on the environment and the community. Sustainable features would include controllability of lighting and thermal control systems, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, indoor chemical and pollutant source control, and use of recycled materials in the building’s construction.
The skeletal structure and shell of the Harrison Education Center. Once completed, the facility would feature an art studio, science and computer labs, five classrooms, a multi-purpose community room, a bookstore, a commons area, an outreach center, and administrative offices. It would also contain the latest high-tech audio-visual equipment and provide wireless connectivity throughout the building.
Workers can be seen continuing construction of the education center. A banner for the new Vashon High School waves across the street, emphasizing the future center’s close proximity to its neighbor. Located near both Vashon High School and the Clyde C. Miller Academy, the center is ideally positioned to leverage learning partnerships and provide enhanced educational opportunities for residents of an underserved community.
The completed William J. Harrison Education Center, poised to begin operations for St. Louis Community College, one of the largest community college systems in the United States. The $10 million, 31,000 square foot facility has the capacity to serve 1,350 students.