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.
The Allentown Board of School Directors agreed to serve as an interim sponsor for the proposal to establish a community college, which 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. 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. In 2022, the space was transformed into a makerspace called the Design Den. 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. In 1996, the Carbon site was relocated to 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, in Schuylkill County, 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 college acquired ownership of the 50,000-square-foot center in 2018 from an Allentown-based limited partnership, and in 2021 it was renamed the Nevin Earl Remaley Technology Center in recognition of a $1 million gift.
In March 2008, the 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, CDL and the Center for Workforce and Community Education. Music and art rooms are also housed in the center as well as a full conference center facility. The building is now called the Lisa Jane Scheller Community Services Center.
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 that was completed in 2013 for use in Spring 2014.
Also in 2013, the Scheller Center was completed at the Tamaqua site. It was renovated in 2021 to house the new Scheller Nursing Simulation Center.
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. The site closed in 2020, but the college continues to serve students from Carbon County at all of the LCCC locations.
In addition, by growing its online program, LCCC continues its efforts to meet students wherever they are—in homes, offices, or wherever a personal computer can be accessed.
In July 2014, the college welcomed its first female president when the Board of Trustees named Dr. Ann D. Bieber as president. Bieber has been with the college since 1981.
After a complete renovation in 2015, the Administration Building’s name was changed to the Student Services Center. In 2021, it was named the Clifford R. Miller Student Services Center in recognition of a donation from one of the college’s first faculty members.
The Donley Center in downtown Allentown received a number of improvements in 2019, including an updated layout to better accommodate student services, renovation to the seventh floor that includes two high-tech classrooms, and the addition of a simulation lab for students in Licensed Practical Nursing.
In December 2018, renovations were completed on the WXLV Media & Design Center, which serves the digital media, fine arts and communications programs. This collaborative workspace includes recording studio, music/sound production, computer workstations and more.
In 2019 the college was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution because of the percentage of minority students we serve. The college continues to build on its strong history to prepare our diverse community for the needs of an ever-changing world.