Multi-dimensional Purslow guided HEC construction
Mar 14 2013
By Katie Yasui
As we students enjoy the beauty and comfort of the Higher Education Center, do we ever think or know of how it came about? And does anyone know what the “Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary” is?
Enter the world of Vicki Purslow, who helped guide the construction of HEC and also has also organized a concert to benefit the Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary.
When Purslow was in middle school, she proclaimed that she was going to get a Ph.D. in music and play the saxophone. When asked how she could possibly know that, Purslow replied, “I was a little freak.”
Her middle school teacher had a doctorate in music and that did it. By the time Purslow was 33, she had accomplished her goal and had her doctorate in education.
In 2001, Purslow ended up running the SOU campus in Medford. At that time, the classrooms and especially the science labs were glaringly inadequate. SOU and RCC began a conversation about the possibility of sharing a facility through state funding.
Once upon a time, there were satellite classrooms that functioned for RCC and SOU—“All over the planet”—according to Purslow.
One location SOU classes was the Mary Phipps building, which was near the old Greyhound bus station. Phipps donated the building to the SOU and a year after, $1 in rent was paid. Classes were also taught at the mall, and SOU and RCC also offered classes at the Job Council.
Like the Wizard of Oz, Purslow was the mastermind behind the scenes of the HEC building project. Some may take the sunny bright rooms for studying in the corners of the HEC building, the ease of accessing the computer rooms and the centrally located commons for granted, but those were priorities for Purslow.
“We wanted quiet getaway space where a student could arrive early and drop their backpack and get to work,” Purslow said of the study rooms. “Working adults are busy people and need a nice place to be.”
Purslow felt passionately about making the building green. She knew that it is difficult to retrofit, yet if beginning from the ground up, it was more feasible. The HEC building was the first LEED Platinum building in the state of Oregon. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Now that the HEC is complete, what is Purslow now doing? After a four year stint as the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at SOU, she is back to her true calling—teaching music.
She’s also playing music. Last summer, she went to Europe for a month-long vacation. She and the members of the “Mazama Saxophone Quartet” submitted two original musical scores that were debuted at the World Saxophone Congress in the historic coastal town of St Andrews in Scotland.
Purslow’s quartet arranged a two-week concert tour called Pubs, Churches, and Donkeys—as in the “Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary” in Wallingford, England, which served as an inspiration.
“What most people don’t know is that 60 percent of the salami in Europe is made from donkeys,” Purslow says.
The man who owns the sanctuary has never turned a donkey away. In one case, a donkey had been slashed and brutalized and then left tied up to a tree for two months before it was found. Now it is rehabilitated.
Standing room only, the fundraiser was sold out with the performance of Purslow’s quartet.
And then back to school. Were there any backstory or drama to the building of the HEC? Purslow says there were “so darn” few surprises and unfortunately and ironically,“There is no dirt!”
That certainly seems seamless and old fashioned. That the building goes with the flow is a reflection of how it was done.
Katie Yasui is a student in J225-Introduction to Journalism.
Short URL: http://roguebyline.com/?p=2592