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Piedmont Community College recently added a second emergency exit on the Person County campus.
The new egress is about 60 to 100 feet long and about 35 feet wide.
The exit is on the south side of campus and empties out onto Northern Middle School property.
“It is complete and there is no expectation to do any more work there. We have it graveled through the woods and trees cut out there wide enough to get through the woods then it empties into the field of the school,” said Marvin Miller, PCC’s Vice President, Administrative Services/Chief Financial Officer.
Although the new egress is complete, the college wants to put a sign up or a gate to ensure people don’t drive their cars through the gravel road.
This is all part of PCC upgrades and renovations to keep students and faculty safe.
The exit will be used for emergencies only.
“It provides an alternate means of leaving campus, which has been a safety concern at the college,” said Elizabeth Townsend PCCs public information officer.
The new egress, funded by the county, cost nearly $8,000 to $9,000 compared to the initial plan.
“I think when they first looked at this it was the cost, the environmental with the wetlands, other people’s property and permission to do that, so it had to be put on the back burner for a while until the maintenance supervisor had the idea lets just cut a road through there,” said Miller.
The new exit had been discussed for seven years.
The initial plan was to build the new roadway on the north side of campus.
However, due to environmental, residential and economic concerns, they had to scrap that plan until the maintenance supervisor came up with a different idea.
“The initial plan was to build a road going out this way and that wasn’t $8,000 or $9,000. That was $1 million and so that was scrapped and I have been told that our maintenance supervisor is the one who made the recommendation to cut through the woods and put the emergency egress out to school property,” said Miller.
Once the college was determined and basically in partnership with the school system, the ball started rolling on the new project.
“It didn’t take very long once we got someone to agree to go in there and grade it and then to put stone in there. The longest time was getting quotes and getting it planned,” said Miller.
Although the exit will be used for emergency personnel only, the college doesn’t disqualify the idea of using the route to get students and faculty to safety if the need arises.
PCC will also be adding other safety upgrades and renovations.
“In addition to being very concerned about students’ safety we are very concerned about their health and campus accessibility. Just about any project that we undertake, if it’s not directly associated with one of those three, we certainly look at it,” Miller said.
Other safety upgrades and renovations include replacing the main power switch on campus, approximately 30 new security cameras that record information for more than 90 days at a time, installation of a new telephone system, locating a new modular building for Early College students to separate traditional students from high school students, a generator for building “S” and greatly improved Wi-Fi and connectivity for students.