Efforts of the local sponsor to establish a publicly supported community college in the Allentown area date to 1955 when studies were first conducted to determine whether or not the area could support such an institution. With the support of the Allentown Chamber of Commerce and several other groups, the Allentown public schools conducted a survey of high school seniors to determine the number of students who were interested in attending a community college.
The results were favorable and the Allentown Board of School Directors decided to develop full-time post-high school courses.
A practical nursing program was established in 1958, followed by several other technological programs. The programs proved successful as increasing numbers of students enrolled for classes and, following graduation, secured local employment.
The Allentown Board of School Directors agreed to serve as an interim sponsor. The proposal to establish a community college was then submitted to the Lehigh County Board of School Directors in October 1964. Following a convention of school directors, the proposal to establish a community college was approved by the Board of School Directors. Several committees were formed to survey the interests of business, industry, students, and other colleges in the area. These combined actions resulted in the writing of a formal application that was approved by official action of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. A Board of Trustees was elected by the Lehigh County Board of School Directors, and Lehigh County Community College was officially established and empowered on March 31, 1966.
Sponsorship of the community college totals 13 school districts, including the nine Lehigh County school districts and four of the five Carbon County school districts.
For the first three semesters, September 1967 to February 1969, classes were held in the Old Lehigh County Court House and its Annex. Additional facilities were made available by the Allentown School District to meet laboratory needs. The move to the Schnecksville campus was completed for the spring 1969 semester. Classes and college offices were housed in the Administration Building.
The second building erected on the Schnecksville campus was the Science-Technology building in September 1971, which housed the college’s daycare center, Stay ’N Play, which opened in August 1973. The building provides laboratories, classrooms, lounges and study areas. The gymnasium (Berrier Hall) and original library (Learning Resource Center) were completed for occupancy in September 1974.
To make its offerings accessible to as many citizens as possible, LCCC has established several off-campus sites. In August 1987, the college opened its Allentown city site in the Sovereign Building on Hamilton Mall. In 1992, LCCC’s Carbon site was dedicated at Carbon County Vocational Technical School in Jim Thorpe. LCCC’s Airport Site, at Lehigh Valley International Airport, was dedicated in 1993.
In January 1994, the college officially changed its name to Lehigh Carbon Community College—a gesture that reflects the college’s service and responsiveness to its Carbon County constituents, as well as to those in Lehigh County. In 1996, the Carbon site was relocated to its location in Nesquehoning.
The downtown Allentown site was relocated in January 1999 and, in November of that year, was rededicated as the Donley Center. The college extended its offerings even further by opening the Morgan Center in Tamaqua in August 2003.
The new Technology Center on the Schnecksville campus opened in conjunction with the start of the spring semester on January 19, 2004. The 50,000-squarefoot building houses numerous classrooms and laboratories for the college’s Technology, Computer Science, and Media programs.
As a result, the original Science-Technology building was renamed Science Hall in 2004.
On February 22, 2007, LCCC celebrated the grand opening of the Fowler Teacher Education Center in Science Hall and the relocation of the Stay ’N Play childcare, which was renamed Early Learning Center in 2008. In March 2008, the new state-of-the-art Rothrock Library opened in the former building of the Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit No. 21, housing an Alumni Conference Center. Renamed in August 2008, the newly renovated Academic Resource Center (the original library building) housed a brand new cafeteria and bookstore.
In 2010, LCCC added a new Community Services Center, housing the Public Safety, Criminal Justice and Noncredit division of the college. Music and Art rooms are also housed in the center as well as a full conference center facility.
In Spring 2011, Berrier Hall was also renovated to house additional changing rooms, an all-new fitness center, the Student Government Association and athletic offices, the game room, a new dance studio and an auxiliary gym. The realignment of Orchard Road behind Berrier Hall diverted vehicular traffic away from pedestrians walking to and from the gymnasium and the library, as well as for the Athletic Fields (soccer, baseball and softball), a project which was completed in 2013 for use in Spring 2014.
In January 2014, LCCC’s Carbon County site relocated to the west wing of Jim Thorpe Area High School in time for the Spring 2014 semester.
In addition, by growing its virtual college program, LCCC continues its efforts to meet students wherever they are—in homes, offices, or wherever a personal computer can be accessed.