An online publication for the staff, faculty, students and friends of Community College of Philadelphia

President's Perspective

Stephen Curtis
Stephen Curtis

It’s the little things that matter, that add up in the end—Elizabeth Dunphy

For the last year, our newly constructed and renovated Northeast Regional Center has been fully operational. A visit to that center immediately gives you a big picture of what has been accomplished: a modern-looking, beautiful college campus; ample parking; tree-lined landscaping; expanded campus services; and positive vision of college life.

For the past semester, our new Pavilion Building at the Main Campus has opened its doors to an equally impressive big picture: improved campus dining, an expanded bookstore and all new equipment and facilities for our culinary arts/hospitality management students. In both settings there are also “little things that matter,” in many cases not observed or as easily apparent to the general College community.

At the Northeast, if you are not an art student, you may not observe the wing-shaped roof that caps the “butterfly room” in which art classes are taught. Our Northeast residents now attend community functions in a room more than twice the size of the previous community room and equipped with a full range of technology capacity. Students parking in our expanded lot walk to their classes over a picturesque pedestrian bridge. Concealed beneath that same parking area are 220 geothermic wells, the heating and cooling source for the entire Northeast Regional Center. Aside from establishing a true College commitment to sustainability, we are now heating and cooling twice the square footage for barely 10 percent more in cost. Our newly established Center for Small Business Education, Growth and Training works with numerous small businesses and their employees across the Northeast section of the city—a service we had not been able to provide previously.

The Main Campus’ Pavilion Building is also replete with “little things.” I used to joke to campus visitors that they could never find our campus bookstore, buried in the West Building, even if I paid them. Now the bookstore is wonderfully accessible, with much more inventory available.

Students and staff walk by our new theatre-style culinary demonstration classroom every day on the second floor. Recently it hosted the celebrity chef G. Garvin, who participated in a fundraiser for the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs. For each of the five recipes Chef Garvin prepared, our own culinary students produced the same foods “backstage” and served these items for our audience’s culinary enjoyment.

As with the geothermic wells in the Northeast, the Pavilion Building also conceals less obvious commitments to sustainability: kitchen exhaust systems that minimize demands on HVAC systems and use far less energy than typical restaurant kitchens, comprehensive use of recycled materials in construction and outfitting, and storm water management strategies that eliminate water run-off into city sewers.

Have you noticed the green roofs at the front and back of the Pavilion Building, or looked down from the terrace on the Northeast’s green roof? Have you noticed the broad use of natural light in both the Pavilion Building and the new Northeast construction?

In short, pause to recognize the benefits that come with the “little things” in our campus expansions. They really do “add up in the end.”