Seven presidents lead college to new heights; bond issues fuel several campus expansions

Editors note: LCCC will celebrate its 50th anniversary in the fall of 2018. As part of the celebration, the Wingspan staff is looking back through the archives to highlight some of the important—and not so important—moments in the history of student media and the college.

Laramie County voters approved the creation of Laramie County Community College in 1968..

A year later, classes started under President Charles Carpenter, the first president in LCCC’s history. From 1968-1972 with Carpenter at the helm the college launched 18 different academic programs with 25 full-time employees and an annual budget of $466,650. Back then, the population of Laramie County was 65,637 people, compared to the current population of 97,738.

Voters have supported the college with several bond issues over the last 50 years. The revenue from these bond issues has been used to improve existing buildings, construct new buildings and bring more students to the college..

The first bond issue in LCCC’s history took place 42 years ago in 1972, and the voters took to the polls to vote for the expansion of several buildings: the old science building, business, diesel tech, the College Community Center building and the Agriculture building.

The second president at the college, H.D. Yarbrough, who was president from 1972-1975, saw the college budget increase to $2,042,000. This allowed the college to further improve buildings and hire more staff. From 1975-1985, President Harlan Heglar took the college to new heights. He oversaw the college as it earned its initial accreditation, hired more than 180 full-time employees, placed the first administrative computer on campus, and founded the licensed practical nursing program in 1977. Heglar also increased the budget nearly three times up to nearly $4.6 million, and the college was offering 49 different programs.

In 1979, Heglar introduced the second bond issue in LCCC’s history. The 73,166 citizens in Laramie County would vote to establish a 10-year building plan for a new Student Services building (now known as the Crossroads building, Arp building, an addition to the Recreation and Athletic Complex, and a rodeo arena for the school. To cap off Harlan’s reign as president, he was able to get the NJCAA to sanction men’s and women’s sports at the college in 1981, and he was able to increase the budget more than $10 million thanks to a massive increase in the Wyoming state mineral severance tax.

Filling in for Heglar after his 10-year career as president was Timothy Davies. Davies, the third president in LCCC history, had a stint of six years from 1985-1991.

He introduced the third bond issue in 1989, which focused on a new science center, remodels to the Education and Enrichment and Center for Conferences and Institutes buildings and the foundation for the first residence hall was assembled. Davies hired 60 more full-time employees and increased the number of academic programs to 52, including the introduction of telecourses. He also oversaw the establishment of the first Local Area Network lab in Wyoming at LCCC. In 1988 the first personal computers for the college were purchased.

The next president to influence LCCC’s history was Charles Bohlen, who served from 1992-2006, which is the longest tenure for a president at the college. In 1995, the first compressed video courses were offered, the college increased to more than 265 full-time employees, 85 different academic programs, and more than 900 personal computers and 20 servers. Bohlen also ushered in a $5 millionr levy renewal project in 1998 to revamp the Fine Arts, Arp, and Business buildings.

Bohlen cemented his legacy at LCCC when he oversaw the building and completion of the Albany County Campus as well as the second residence hall in 2006. Under his leadership, LCCC’s annual budget increased to $18.6 million.

Replacing Bohlen after his 14-year term was President Darrel Hammon from 2006-2010. In 2007, the population of Laramie County grew to 83,388 citizens and LCCC introduced and won its fourth bond election, which generated $14.3 million for the Health Sciences building.

The current president, Dr. Joe Schaffer, started in 2012, and he oversaw the fifth bond election for the college. In 2012, voters passed a $25 million bond for the construction of the Flex Tech and the Pathfinder buildings, which were completed in 2016.

A year later, Schaffer introduced the sixth bond election, which ultimately failed. The proposed  $29.5 million bond would have funded renovations to Fine Arts and the RAC, a new performing arts center and a new residence hall.


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