With a new location, two permanent buildings and comprehensive campus master plan, Highland Community College was ready to grow to meet the needs of its new four-county district in northwest Illinois. Driven by the original master plan and the continued vision of the founders to serve students, area residents and local workforce needs, the campus and academic programs have grown to reflect the true mission of a comprehensive community college - a mission that will continue to guide the college for the next 50 years.
Highland had already developed a tradition of offering high quality visual and performing arts that continues today. In order to give these programs a permanent home, the Fine Arts Center was completed in the Fall of 1974. The facility includes a 400 seat theater, visual and performing arts classrooms, and the Highland Gallery. Its most recent addition is a graphic arts computer lab.
The first cooperative arrangement between a regional YMCA and a community college, the Sports Center houses the Larry F. Kahl Gymnasium. Constructed in the summer and fall of 1979, the structure currently houses a modern healthcare facility for YMCA members and HCC students, as well as the Larry F. Kahl Gymnasium, home of the Cougar basketball and volleyball games
Following a fire that destroyed the temporary building housing the cafeteria and student center, a new Student Center was erected in 1983. Funded primarily by donations from the community, the facility originally housed a new cafeteria, administrative offices and classrooms. Today, the building houses a number of organizations that serve the community, such as the University of Illinois Extension office, Adult Education program and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
The Student/Conference Center, completed in 1992 and funded primarily by the state of Illinois, concluded the college's obligation to the campus master plan building program. The center houses the administrative offices, student advising, admissions, administrative offices, and the cafeteria. The facility also serves as a conference center, hosting college-related activities as well as community-sponsored meetings and events.
Another joint cooperative venture between Highland and the YMCA was to provide a daycare center and training center for the early childhood education program. Completed in 2002, the HCC/YMCA Childcare/Training Center allowed the YMCA to expand, offering a new infant/toddler program. It also provides for further collaboration between the College training program and the YMCA Children's Center. An on-site classroom and new observation rooms permits Highland students to spend important time watching classroom interaction without disrupting their time on campus. The center was funded by the Highland Community College Foundation, the YMCA Foundation, Illinois First, and a memorial gift from Lois Koon Kortemeier.
Highland's district spans a large four-county area in northwest Illinois. In order to better serve residents of Jo Daviess and Carroll counties, the HCC West campus was opened in 2004. The facility, complete with science labs, classrooms and computer lab, led to a gradual increase in the number and range of offerings in the western part of the College district. Additionally, the College will continue to offer classes in various locations in the region. HCC West is also an attractive location for clubs and organizations in the western part of our district and hosts a number of community-related events.
The growth of Highland's Nursing and Allied Health programs called for improved and expanded facilities. Thanks to the HCC Foundation's efforts through the Growing for tomorrow…Changing lives today campaign and a generous donation from Ray Stamm, the college embarked upon the construction of a 13,500 square-foot addition to the Natural Science Center to house dedicated classrooms and labs for the programs.
With the development of wind farms in the tri-state area, Highland was approached by a local developer to establish a wind turbine technician program. In the Fall of 2007, HCC became the first community college in the state to offer a Wind Turbine Technician associate of applied science degree. It soon became apparent that the new program and its students would benefit from a dedicated facility that would meet the specialized needs of the curriculum. With the help of the HCC Foundation's Growing for tomorrow…changing lives today major gift campaign, the new 13,500 square-foot facility with labs and classrooms was opened in the fall 2008.
In response to growing interest among area horse enthusiasts and equine facilities in the tri-state region, Highland began offering equine science courses in late 2009. The positive reaction to the classes would result in the establishment of a two-year associate's degree and four one-year certificates in Equine Sciences by 2011. In order to serve the many students throughout the region, classes are now held at the main campus in Freeport, at HCC West in Elizabeth, and at local equine facilities in Monroe, Wisconsin, and Galena, Illinois.