Above: The groundbreaking of Meece Hall in 1964, the first building on SCCs campus.
Above: Meece Hall as it stood in 1970.
Above: Meece Hall today.
Fifty years ago, Somerset Community College opened its doors with the goal of providing
quality higher education at a location close to home. That goal, which is still being
fulfilled, set the tone for SCC to continue to grow and change to meet the educational
demands of the region.
Throughout 2015, SCC will be celebrating its anniversary in numerous ways. One way
the college will celebrate is through a 50th anniversary speakers series. Throughout
the year, several nationally-known speakers and guests will be on hand to share their
experiences with the college and the community. These speakers include Pulitzer Prize
winning author Rick Bragg, Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher, New York Times and
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Wes Moore, comedian Jeanne Robertson and much
more. Visit www.scc50.org
to view the full calendar as it develops, submit your personal memories of SCC through
the years and view a message from SCC President and CEO Dr. Jo Marshall.
Recognizing the need for quality higher education in all parts of the state, the Kentucky
General Assembly authorized the formation of the University of Kentucky Community
College System in 1962. Somerset was chosen as the hub for education in the southeastern
section of Kentucky and, with the help of the Education Development Foundation, a
citizen corporation comprised of community leaders from Pulaski and several surrounding
counties, land was identified and purchased for the formation of Somerset Community
On September 1, 1965, 290 students walked into Meece Hall to mark their spot in history
as the first students of Somerset Community College.
According to The Somerset Journal's article on the opening day of school, the Meece
building was a modern building with a well-equipped chemistry laboratory, special
music room, commerce rooms, a modern library, several other classrooms, a large study
area, several instructors offices and administrative offices.
Those first students were able to choose from several programs of study, including
accounting aide, professional secretary, several fields of engineering technology,
forestry and wood technology, professional secretary courses, stenography, marketing
and accounting, the article said. The college also offered evening courses in topics
such as real estate appraisal, painting for non-art majors, accounting, office appliance
and procedures, commercial law, map reading and land descriptions.
Even though enrollment was slightly lower than expected, the newspaper reported that
by September 18, a formal announcement was made in the Crystal Ballroom of the Hotel
Beecher that an expansion of SCC was already needed and would soon be in process.
Since that time, several expansions at SCC have occurred. In 1970, Stoner Hall opened,
followed by the Strunk Learning Resource Center in 1979 and the Richard Ernst Cooper
Building in 1985.
In 1997, Kentucky Governor Paul E. Patton signed the Kentucky Postsecondary Education
Improvement Act of 1997, creating the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
Two years later, the KCTCS Board of Regents approved a resolution that encouraged
consolidation of local community and technical colleges and on January 1, 2003, the
Somerset Technical College, Laurel Technical College and Somerset Community College
officially became one institution known as Somerset Community College.
Since the consolidation, Somerset Community College has continued to grow and expand
services to students throughout the region. The Somerset Campus consists of two locations
North and South. The SCC Somerset South Campus is home to most technical programs,
Workforce Solutions department, classrooms and more. On the Somerset North Campus,
the Alton E. Blakley Academic/Technical Building opened in 2003 and the following
year, the Harold Rogers Student Commons opened. The 54,500 square foot Harold Rogers
Student Commons is a state-of-art building with three levels. It houses a cafeteria,
bookstore, community room, wellness center, student lounge, offices for student services
and also provides classrooms for several healthcare programs. The building has become
the center of activity on the Somerset Campus.
The Laurel Campus of Somerset Community College encompasses two locations. One campus,
called Laurel North, is located at 100 University Drive, near the junction of Hwy.
229 and Hwy. 192 in London. The second campus, the Laurel South Campus, is located
at 235 South Laurel Street, next to South Laurel High School.
Since the opening of the Laurel North Campus, two additional buildings have been added.
On March 27, 2003, an open house was held to celebrate the opening of the new academic
and technical building on the campus. Then, after a combination gift and purchase
of a piece of land from Rick and Kimberly Brown, which is in front of the campus and
is the road frontage for Highway 192, funds were provided by the state to build an
Allied Health and Technical Education building. On May 10, 2010, an open house was
held for that building, which provides the space for much needed health programs in
the Laurel County area.
In addition, SCC has opened and developed four additional centers to expand the community
college reach further into the region. Centers now exist in McCreary County, Russell
County, Casey County and Clinton County. Combined, SCC has an enrollment near 8,000
and offers associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in more than 40 areas of study.
As SCC celebrates 50 years of quality education and workforce training in 2015, the
college is still focused on some of the same goals: to expand the options of people
in the region, to understand and meet the demands of the workplace, to educate students
in a setting that is close to home and to provide quality education at an affordable
price. Today, SCC students can easily transfer to a four-year college or university
to further their education, or enter the workforce prepared and ready for their career.
To find out more about the history of Somerset Community College, or to share your
story, visit scc50.org