New Hampshire’s community colleges are the product of the efforts to provide training for the State’s WWII veterans. Initially created as “state trade schools,” these institutions first became vocational institutes and the vocational-technical colleges. Lakes Region Community College was established in 1967 as the New Hampshire Vocational Institute in Laconia. Since then it has been an integral part of the region’s post-secondary educational landscape.
The College’s original building was designed by Andrew Isaac and included fourteen laboratories, five general classrooms, a student lounge, library, bookstore, seminar rooms and faculty and staff offices. In addition, to the core curricula offered at all of the State’s vocational-technical colleges, the NH Vocational-Technical College – Laconia’s unique programs were Graphic Arts and Printing, Internal Combustion Engines and Secretarial Science. The State’s only Fire Science degree program offered at a college and the State’s first Emergency Medical Technician program were also developed at Laconia.
The College’s main campus underwent a physical expansion in 1980, adding the Robert H. Turner wing to its facility. In 1996, “Community” was added to the college name cementing the first steps towards becoming a comprehensive community college. As the College grew so did the need for academic space. The Center for Arts and Technology (CAT) opened in September 2005 adding space for Computer Technologies, Electrical Technologies, Fine Arts and Graphic Design among other programs. To reflect the change to a comprehensive community college, the college’s name changed again from New Hampshire Community Technical College – Laconia to Lakes Region Community College officially in 2008 by order of Governor John Lynch.
LRCC expanded its footprint again in 2013 with the 24,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Health and Science Building. The Health and Science Building houses the Fire Science and Nursing programs, science laboratories, and various student lounges. It also includes four modern science and hi-tech Nursing labs, two Fire Science labs, faculty offices, and a 140-seat mini-auditorium.
Two thousand-sixteen marked an important year for Lakes Region Community College with the introduction of its new Automotive building and student apartments. The automotive facility was designed to house the General Motors Automotive Service Education Program (GM-ASEP), Automotive Technology Program and Toyota T-TEN Program (added in 2017). The 20,000 square foot building features a shop area that includes 17 bays, space for equipment, two classrooms/laboratories each with a lift and able to accommodate automobiles, a general classroom, a showroom and office space for faculty and staff. The expanded space not only provided much needed space for these programs, but also enabled the integration of technology into the curriculum in the form of diagnostic tools and multimedia presentations.
That same year, LRCC also opened its first ever campus housing program. The Apple Ridge Student Apartments located one-mile from campus consist of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom fully-furnished apartment units that serve as student residences. Adding a campus housing program, operated by LRCC staff for students has transformed the campus. Our student apartments serve those who commute significant distances to attend LRCC, as well as, local students who desire to add a residential life component to their college experience.
Although LRCC has grown into a comprehensive community college it remains a small student-centered institution reflecting the communities we serve. As we begin our next 50 years we embrace our future as a center of innovation and an economic engine for our community.