Bladen Community College was chartered as Bladen Technical Institute on October 5, 1967, under the authority of North Carolina General Statute 115A. The college formally opened on December 16, 1967, and offered a limited number of classes by January 1968. The college was initially located in rented buildings in several locations around Elizabethtown. The old Johnson Cotton Company property on US Highway 701 South was secured and became the location of the administrative offices, the first library, and some classrooms for course offerings. The old First Baptist Church in downtown Elizabethtown became home for the business, secretarial, and nursing programs. A short while later the old Marks Tractor location adjacent to the administrative offices was secured for a welding shop and student services area.
The college began full-scale operations in September of 1968. Initially curriculum programs were offered in cosmetology, executive secretarial science, business administration, industrial maintenance, automotive mechanics and nursing assistant. A complete battery of extension and other part-time adult programs were offered in the evening to complement the day program. The college’s board of trustees began to search for a permanent location for the campus shortly after the college opened.
In 1969, a site was secured near Dublin that would become the main campus of the college. Part of the site was donated by Dublin resident Roy Brisson and the remainder of the initial plot was purchased. The first phase of a building program began in 1970. Buildings 1 and 2 were completed by the spring of the next year and the college moved to its permanent 25-acre campus in July 1971. The initial two buildings contained 27,000 square feet and contained all of the programs the college offered. Building 3 was completed shortly thereafter and became the home of the auto mechanics program. Later, the auto mechanics program space was converted for use by cosmetology. A small shop was constructed as a welding class project in 1972. That building is now used by the criminal justice program. Two more parcels of land totaling 16 acres were added in 1973 and 1974, which enlarged the campus to its present 41-acre size. A 10,500-square-foot shop complex was completed in the summer of 1973 and a 3,600- square-foot storage shed was completed as a class project in early 1974. The college added a center in the Kelly Community in the old Natmore School facility in 1975.
The 5.25-acre campus, which had been deeded to the college by the Bladen County Board of Education, included two buildings totaling 7,170 square feet. Nine years later a 4,000-square-foot building was constructed at the center. The Kelly center was closed in 2006. Construction of a Learning Resource Center (LRC), Administrative Building, and Multipurpose Building began in the summer of 1975. The LRC and Administrative Building were completed in April 1976 and the Multipurpose Building, in July 1976.
The name of the institution was changed to Bladen Technical College in 1979 and two additional shop buildings were added the next year. In October 1987 the name of the school was changed to Bladen Community College and the following year a high technology center was completed on the main campus. In February 1995, Bladen Community College met with residents of the East Arcadia community, who had expressed an interest for more courses and services in their community, which is more than 30 miles from the main campus. Though the college was already offering courses and programs in the area, they had been limited. Later that year the college opened a center and enrolled more than 80 students for the spring quarter of 1995. A new building was constructed at the center in 2005.
In September 1995, a small business center was established on the main campus to assist new and existing small businesses in the area. In 1997, a Health Education Building was completed to house the practical nursing, nursing assistant and biological sciences, as well as other health/medical-related courses offered through the continuing education program. A JobLink Center was established on the main campus in 1997 connecting the college to other agencies such as the North Carolina Department of Commerce Division of Workforce Solutions (DWS), the Department of Social Services, Vocational Rehab and Telamon Corporation. Though the college still operates the JobLink program, it is now housed in the Division of Workforce Solutions building in Elizabethtown.
The college was fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in the fall of 1976. Accreditation was reaffirmed in 1982, 1992, 2002 and again in 2012. In the fall of 1997, BCC changed from the quarter system to the semester system to enable better articulation with and transfer to universities. In 2006 the college completed a new classroom building adjacent to the industrial training facilities. The college’s welding and industrial maintenance buildings were expanded in 2008 with a $1 million appropriation from a special legislative grant. A $3 million, 16,000 square-foot Student Resource Center was constructed in 2009 and opened in May 2010.
Bladen Community College offers post-secondary certificate, diploma, and degree programs. Presently the college offers 14 curriculum programs. Occupational and vocational courses and programs are offered through a variety of continuing education offerings. Workforce development is a priority of the college along with numerous programs directed at improving basic educational skills, advancing economic development and improving the quality of life of Bladen citizens. Bladen Community College is dedicated to an open door policy and to meeting the educational and cultural needs of the people of Bladen and surrounding counties. Bladen Community College has experienced unprecedented growth during the past nine years. Much of that growth has been in the area of distance education.
For every $1 spent…
$6.20 Gained in lifetime income for STUDENTS.
$25.70 Gained in added state income and social savings for SOCIETY.
$2.50 Gained in added taxes and public sector savings for TAXPAYERS.