This past weekend, Garden City Community College celebrated its 100th birthday with a day of activities. Garden City Community College is the oldest community college in the state of Kansas, with its formal inception date on April 1, 1919.
The weekend activities were kicked off on Friday evening with the Endowment Association Centennial Gala. Tickets were sold out and the event was a huge success. Saturday morning started off with “100 Years of Community” parade through the campus and then moved into the ‘quad’ area on campus for a family friendly scavenger hunt, activity booths, food and entertainment. The community was invited to attend the pep rally, homecoming coronation and “Old Timer’s Bowl” versus Fort Scott Community College, the second oldest community college in Kansas. Fort Scott is also celebrating their centennial birthday this year. GCCC won the inaugural bowl game 42-16.
GCCC was formally created on April 1, 1919 by a county-wide vote, opening in September of that same year. In the beginning, GCCC shared space with Garden City High School in Sabine and Calkins Hall. The first class had less than 50 students. The college was than relocated to the former Garden City High School (now Horace Good Middle School) in 1954, and moved onto its own campus in 1958 where the current Buffalo Jones Elementary School is located. After a few more relocations and legislative fails to become autonomous from the public school system, the Community College Act was passed by the Kansas Legislature in 1965. This passing allowed for the creation of 22 independent community colleges across the state, allowing them to levy taxes and run the institutions separately from the public school systems.
Today, GCCC is one of 19 remaining community colleges in Kansas. Design for the current GCCC campus in July of 1965, with voters approving a $2.5 million bond issue. In addition, a grant for $538,000 was received from the federal government. Construction began in 1968 on the residence halls, library and academic and administration facilities. 1974 brought the addition of the John Collins Technical Building. In the following years, many additions were made to residence halls and other facilities. In 1986, the Penka Building and Williams Stadium were constructed. A $1.4 million technical annex was constructed in 1996, solidifying GCCC’s commitment to advancing the workforce capabilities of the region. Many additions were made to the campus in the following years including student housing, the Beth Tedrow Student Center, the Student and Community Services Center, Tangeman Complex and Broncbuster Stadium.