The First Fifty Years: a Foundation for the Future
The earliest activity in providing a community college to serve the Clare County/Gladwin County area began in 1962. Two years later the concept of the College was endorsed by the two local intermediate districts and the five local school districts within the two counties. As a result of the acceptance of this basic concept, a Citizens Advisory Council was formed to determine the feasibility of establishing a community college. The report of the Council, completed in 1965, recommended the formation of a local community college to serve the residents of the two-county area. The study report was then submitted to the Michigan Department of Public Instruction and notification of approval for the College was received in July, 1965.
In September, 1965, a special election was held to obtain community authorization for establishment of the College, to elect a governing Board of Trustees, and to approve construction and operating millage of 1.5 mills to be levied against the assessed property valuation in the voting district. The favorable response of the voters resulted in official approval by the Michigan State Board of Education to establish Michigan's 25th community college.
During 1966-67, an administrative staff was employed to develop the initial planning for the Campus and for the instructional program. At the same time, the architect was developing a master plan for building construction and development of the entire 560-acre site. Construction of the initial $1.5 million instructional facility began in May, 1968.
In the fall of 1968, the first university parallel and the non-technical classes began in temporary facilities in the Clare County Building in Harrison. The Practical Nursing Program was started at the Central Michigan Community Hospital in Mt. Pleasant and the vocational and technical courses were conducted at the Area Vocational School in Mt. Pleasant. Temporary facilities for the library and audio-visual materials were obtained from the Harrison Public Library. On September 15, 1969, the first classes moved to the present Campus location and on November 24, 1969, all of the remaining classes were moved. Meanwhile, classes continued to be held at the Mt. Pleasant locations.
Construction of the Food Service/Student Center was completed in 1972; the Goldberg Orientation Center, which originally housed the College's child care facilities, and a small engine repair building were added in 1973; the allied health facilities and the Automotive Technology Center were completed in 1976; and the Climate Control Center was constructed in 1979. Technical Trades Center opened for classes in the fall of 1983.
In December of 1993, the College purchased a three-story modern office building in Mt. Pleasant. The building was converted to a striking campus facility on an attractive site during 1994. The Mt. Pleasant Campus also serves the Isabella County area.
In the fall of 1998, the College opened an extensive expansion with improvements on the Harrison Campus, adding new science and health education facilities.
In the fall of 1999, Midwas granted funding for a Michigan Technical Education Center (M-TEC) to serve business, industry and the community. The Center was completed in 2001 and provides open-entry training for employees and potential employees of industrial and construction trades.
One of the main goals of the College is to better serve students, thus helping them achieve success. This goal was recently achieved with the addition of the Student Orientation and Academic Readiness (SOAR) Center which opened in August 2004. This Center consolidated student services and academic support in one building to provide more comprehensive, coordinated service centered on student needs. Students now have easier access to all services in an inviting atmosphere. Consolidation of services also provides more efficient utilization of human resources and for the first time exhibits an obvious front door for the College.
Recognizing the growing need for skilled healthcare professionals, Mid opened the Herbert D. Doan Center for Science and Health Technologies in the Spring of 2008. Located on 44 acres in Mt. Pleasant, the Doan Center is a vital part of Mid's effort to expand its highly respected nursing program and establish new health programs. The Center doubled Mid's available space in Mt. Pleasant and provided additional science labs, classrooms, and computer labs.
Further expansion at the site of the Doan Center has made that site the home of the new Mt. Pleasant Campus. An addition to house student services (built on the same concepts as the Harrison Campus SOAR Center) was completed in March 2011. The Center for Liberal Arts and Business opened in August 2014 to complete the move out of the building on Pickard Street. Further, the Morey Technical Education Center opened in Fall 2014 to allow the college to meet workforce demand by providing technical training in the central Michigan area.
With the new campus complete, students are now able able to receive a full range of services at either location - Harrison or Mt. Pleasant.
Since the College opened its doors to 196 students in the fall of 1968, it has worked to meet the needs of the community and is now serving more than 6,000 students annually on both a fulltime and part-time basis.