Although the official history of Seattle Central began in 1966, its main campus is the site of two important Seattle schools that preceded the present day college.
To accommodate the dramatic increase in Seattle’s population caused by the Alaskan Gold Rush of the 1890s, Broadway High School was built in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district and opened in 1902. Broadway High graduated many of Seattle’s outstanding and prominent citizens and cultivated a reputation that continued even though its educational focus changed. The Broadway High Alumni Association is extremely supportive of Seattle Central and annually contributes funds for scholarship programs at the college.
In 1946, the high school completed its gradual transition to vocational training and adult education and was named Edison Technical School. It began offering college courses in 1965 and in one year, evolved into the first community college in the city, Seattle Central College. North and South Seattle Colleges began operation in 1970.
In accordance with a 1969 master plan, extensive renovation and new construction at Seattle Central took place over a seven–year period. With the completion of the Broadway Performance Hall (built from the central section of the high school). In 1978, the college campus possessed a striking historic reminder of its past that augments the modern main building next to it. These two buildings are appropriate symbols of the school’s long standing commitment to provide quality education to all who seek it. The college’s Broadway campus also includes a complete Student Activity Center, Bookstore and Student Government buildings.
In 1995, Seattle Central began directing the operations of the Seattle Vocational Institute, which provides short–term job training programs. The SVI facility (located at 2120 South Jackson Street) was completely renovated between 1995–1996 and re–opened that fall. It enrolls about 500 students each quarter.
The college operates two satellite branches, the Wood Technology Center and the Seattle Maritime Academy. The Wood Technology program facility (located at 2310 S. Lane) offers instruction in carpentry, marine carpentry (boat building and repair) and cabinetmaking and mill-working. The Seattle Maritime Academy, located on the Lake Washington Ship Canal next to the Ballard Bridge. A state–of–the–art facility will be built in 2014 on the waterfront location. Students receive hands–on training on the three ships owned by the Academy and also do internships at sea.
Chosen by over 16,000 students each year, Seattle Central College offers a comprehensive range of educational programs and opportunities in academic transfer, career preparation, basic studies, and continuing education in an urban environment.
Our breadth of programs — including two bachelor’s degrees, 32 associate degrees and 45 professional certificates in 28 fields of study — prepare students for an equally diverse range of pursuits. Nearly half of our students are enrolled in academic programs that offer Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degrees and prepare them for transfer to four–year colleges or universities. To build successful careers, about a third of our students pursue career training programs to learn marketable skills in fields such as healthcare, information technology, business, culinary arts, maritime, social and human services and more. We also serve students with courses in basic studies, continuing education and other programs.
The true strength of our college is our extraordinary teaching and learning environment. We are recognized nationally for our dedicated and accomplished faculty, who work hard to help our students succeed. This is evident in the large number of our students who transfer to the University of Washington each year. Our students also achieve in a variety of endeavors: many run well–established businesses, are renowned in the arts and music, and have become leaders in their communities.
What began as Seattle’s first community college on the outskirts of downtown in 1966 has grown into a thriving center for higher education in the heart of the city. For nearly 50 years, we have been committed to providing accessible higher education for residents of Seattle and surrounding areas. We educate our students to fill jobs in a variety of fields that in turn support our dynamic and growing community. Although our home is the vibrant Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, we are global in perspective, with a thriving international program — the sixth largest in the country among community or technical colleges — that hosts more than 2,000 students from around the world.
As one of the most diverse higher education institutions in Washington state, we take pride in the remarkable diversity of our students, who help to make Seattle Central a true reflection of the community we serve. We draw individuals from all walks of life seeking education to better their lives, representing a multitude of ages, races and ethnicity. Our students’ backgrounds are also quite diverse: from high school students and recent grads just starting out, to mid–career professionals looking to add new skills, many of whom have work and family responsibilities.