2011 brings a significant birthday to Western Nevada College – the Big 4-0. With it comes the chance to embrace the past and look forward. Perhaps because WNC has served thousands of Nevadans for decades, some may take our community college for granted. They may not realize that our three campuses and five education centers have been successful because of the vision and collaborative effort of many throughout the Silver State.
In 1971, the dreams of local educators, civic leaders and students became a reality. Western Nevada Community College opened to serve adults and traditional age students throughout the northwestern part of the state.
The college began its charge without dedicated buildings. Instead, space was rented for classes in communities as far and wide as Reno, Carson City, Hawthorne, Yerington, Fallon, Incline Village and Zephyr Cove.
There were 705 students that first semester, but the numbers quickly grew to 2,106 in 1972 and close to 6,000 per semester today. The Bristlecone Building (WNC’s first owned facility) opened on the new Carson City campus in 1974.
Over the years, university transfer courses have become as important as career preparation programs at WNC. However, the first graduating class in 1972 showed the focus on careers. Of 30 graduates, 16 students earned nursing degrees and the 14 others studied business technology or radiologic technology.
Today Western offers a bachelor’s degree in construction management and a wide spectrum of opportunities: more than 40 academic degrees and certificates to choose from.
1979–Western is split, with the north campus in Reno becoming Truckee Meadows Community College.
1981–The Fallon campus opens with Sage Hall
1987–Local builders and manufacturers donate time and materials to construct a center for machine tool technology instruction
1988–The Pinon Hall classroom building opens at the Fallon campus
1991–Aspen Building opens at the Carson City campus, bringing science and art laboratories, and facilities for counseling and admissions.
1992–Stillwater Hall (now Virgil Getto Hall) opens at the Fallon campus with science and art labs, student services areas, library and media services. In Carson City, the library and media services addition opens and the first interactive video classroom is inaugurated.
1993–The Child Development Center opens in Carson City
1997–Douglas Campus opens in Minden with Bently Hall. The John Sheldon Trade and Industry Complex opens in Carson City with new machining automotive and welding laboratories.
1998–Cedar Building opens on the Carson City campus for nursing, physics, engineering and other classes.
1999–Donald W. Reynolds Center for Technology opens on the Carson City campus housing drafting, electronics, construction technology and seminar rooms. The Jim Randolph High Tech Center opens at Carson High School providing joint use technology programs.
2003–The Jack C. Davis Observatory opens on the Carson City campus.
2004–The Joe Dini Jr. Library and Student Center opens in Carson City.
2006–John L. Harvey baseball field opens at the Carson City campus
2007–Western Nevada Community College officially becomes Western Nevada College to reflect the college’s expanded mission and baccalaureate degree opportunities.
2009–A major retrofit is completed to make the Carson City campus easier for those with disabilities. Improvements include new lifts between floors, more accessible restrooms, and walkways with a gentler grade. Handicap parking lots are improved.
Thanks to all who have worked so diligently and passionately to create a Western Nevada College that is truly “40 & FABULOUS!”