Pitt Community College broke ground today for a 75,000-square-foot, $16 million science and technology training facility that will include a biotechnology center.

“It’s going to be the largest building on our campus,” said PCC President G. Dennis Massey. “It’s timely, too, based on what is taking place in Pitt County and the region with regard to business growth in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.”

The building, designed by JKF Architecture’s John Farkas will include 10 classrooms, 11 labs, a biotechnology center, a 120-seat auditorium, a STEM learning center and a science tutorial center.

The facilities will allow for more students, additional equipment for training, and better use of resources among the college’s science-related programs, said Christy Weeks, chair of the college’s biotechnology department.

Biotechnology training currently takes place at the county-owned Tech Enterprise Center of Eastern North Carolina in Greenville. Due to space constraints there, the biotechnology program can serve no more than 20 students at a time, Weeks said.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has supported biotechnology education at PCC with four grants totaling $81,507 since 2001.

Funding for the new science and technology center, to be located on Warren Drive in Winterville, will come from a $19.9 million bond approved by Pitt County voters in 2013 and a $2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Farrior & Sons Inc. will begin construction of the science building this fall. The facility is scheduled to open for classes in 2017.

When completed, it will be PCC’s 29th building.