On March 10, Pikes Peak State College cut the ribbon to celebrate the official opening of their new Learning Commons at the Downtown Campus. The remodeled space contains new tutoring areas, a library, computer lab, café lounge space, and more. This Learning Commons bolsters PPSC’s mission to connect students with academic resources, and each other, in a fresh, updated setting. In honor of this eagerly anticipated milestone, we celebrate PPSC and reflect on our joint interest in helping the next generation of Colorado’s professionals succeed.
SUPPORTING STUDENT SUCCESS
Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) supports Colorado counties, community workforce programs, and higher education institutions, including PPSC, with millions of dollars in available grants to support educational goals. One of two COSI skilled trades matching student scholarship grants in El Paso County has been awarded to PPSC.
“I’m incredibly passionate about PPSC students and what they’re all about, what they do,” said Tyson Nunn. “PPSC caters to some of the underdogs, a lot of the underdogs, and they transform their lives.”
Tyson served on the PPSC Foundation Board, including three years as chair, from 2013 to 2021. During this time, he expanded the scholarship program and launched the Nunn Construction Scholarship. Through the PPSC Foundation, the Nunn Construction Scholarship is awarded each semester to students enrolled in the construction certificate or degree program.
At Nunn, we recognize how education plays a crucial role in developing today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. One of these future leaders is Gilbert Santiago, a junior estimator in Nunn’s preconstruction department. Working as a drywall subcontractor in his family-owned business, he enrolled in PPSC’s construction management program and was awarded the Nunn Construction Scholarship. Gilbert then joined the Nunn team as intern in Summer 2022 and came aboard full-time a few months later. Adding to his credentials, as of this spring, he will be a PPSC alumnus.
“With small class sizes and professors working in the construction field currently,” said Gilbert, “PPSC helps students like myself prepare for real world job scenarios with the confidence of knowing you’ll come out prepared for entry level positions in the professional workforce. Now being at Nunn Construction, each day is a learning experience as well. I practice each concept I learned at PPSC to help our team, along with owners and architects, build and grow our state’s infrastructure.”
CREATING EXPANDED PATHS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
In 2019, PPSC launched the Dakota Promise Coaching Program. This partnership with Harrison School District 2 schools allows all qualifying district high school graduates to pursue a degree program at PPSC—free of charge! With many Harrison School District graduates already attending PPSC, a more natural link for post-secondary education was a no-brainer for the college. We applaud PPSC and HSD2 for forging a new path for post-secondary education for so many well-deserving students. Their response has been overwhelming: College-going rates increased in Harrison District 2 by approximately 50% in Dakota Promise’s very first year being offered.
“PPSC caters to some of the underdogs, a lot of the underdogs, and they transform their lives.”
EVOLVING WITH COLORADO SPRINGS
PPSC includes three campuses: the southern Centennial Campus, built on land donated by the State of Colorado where many soldiers returning from Vietnam sought their education; the Rampart Range Campus, one of the early forerunners at what was once a very sparsely populated InterQuest Parkway; and the Downtown Campus that has recently undergone multiple projects to attract incoming students.
“We’ve been putting a lot of investment into the downtown space here,” said PPSC President Lance Bolton, “and we’re really committed to being part of this vibrant renaissance of downtown which is so very, very well underway already.”
Lance added PPSC has spent $6 to $7 million in the last few years on numerous investments including Creative Commons on the north side of the campus and the renovation of the Studio West building. PPSC is in the process of moving all humanities, arts, and creative programs to the Downtown Campus that has been enjoying expanded public transportation options along with a growing population.
This grand reopening of the Learning Commons represents yet another major steppingstone for PPSC’s mission to support students and future generations of a skilled Colorado workforce. PPSC continues to inspire us with how they connect students with the education and financial resources they need to achieve it, and we are honored to serve such a dedicated community partner.