Muskegon Junior College was established in 1926 by the Muskegon Board of Education. Originally housed on the third floor of then-new Muskegon Senior High School. By 1934, the College and high school enrollment had grown beyond the capacity of the building. The Junior College moved into the former Hackley School in downtown Muskegon across from Hackley Park.
In the years after World War II, enrollment climbed quickly. The Muskegon Board of Education, which operated the College, utilized available space in many of its buildings and rented other community facilities when enrollment exceeded the capacities of those buildings.
In June 1951, after an enabling act by the Michigan Legislature, the name and educational scope of the College was changed. Muskegon Junior College was renamed Muskegon Community College to reflect the expanded nature of the College’s programs. Courses were added in retailing, vocations, technical fields, public health, and trades.
By the early 1960’s, enrollment had topped 2,000. The College was operating full-time at Hackley, Vanderlaan, and Wilson schools and part-time at eight other locations. The Board of Education formed a Special Citizens Committee to study the entire program and make recommendations. The Committee made several proposals: the College be separated from the public school system, a county-wide community college district be created, a board of trustees be elected to plan, build, and operate the school and a millage be voted in sufficient amount and for enough years to build and operate the College.
In April 1963, Muskegon County overwhelmingly approved the recommendations of the committee and elected the first Board of Trustees, which went to work immediately and by September had purchased the tract of land upon which the College exists today.
Alden B. Dow and Associates was named architect and by the summer 1965, drawings were completed and construction begun. In the fall of 1966, he Vocational Technical Wing was completed and occupied. The following September the rest of the college was occupied. The formal dedication ceremony was held October 22, 1967.
The Frauenthal Fine Arts Center, which was completed in 1968, was the first addition to the campus. Named for A. Harold Frauenthal, the Muskegon industrialist whose gift had made the Center possible.
In January 1995, the Center for Higher Education was completed. It was to provide upper-level courses and programs offered by Ferris State, Grand Valley State, and Western Michigan universities. The 90,000 square foot facility, named in honor of former MCC President James L. Stevenson, is home to classrooms, a lecture hall, MCC-TV, Graphics and Printing.
In January 2006, the 40,000 square foot Hendrik Meijer Library Information Technology Center was added to offer the latest in communication capabilities, including wireless internet access, state-of-the-art library facilities/technologies and classrooms, and an internet café.
In November 2013, Muskegon voters approved $24 million to support four MCC facilities expansion projects outlined in the College’s 2010-2015 Master Plan.
In September 2014, MCC signed a purchase agreement to acquire the former Muskegon Chronicle building and an adjacent parking lot for the downtown campus. In December 2017, the Peter and Carolyn I. Sturrus Technology Center opened as the new home to MCC’s Applied Technology programs in CAD, Electronics/Automation, Engineering, Machining, Metal Casting, Materials, and Welding, as well as to MCC’s Experiential Learning Program.
In June 2015, local developer Jonathan Rooks donated the former Masonic Temple to MCC for its Entrepreneurial Studies program and related business-generating activities. Nick Sarnicola, a West Michigan native and highly successful entrepreneur, created a $200,000 permanent endowment through their Next Gen Foundation to the Foundation for Muskegon Community College to support an annual $10,000 cash award for the best business idea generated by an MCC entrepreneurial program graduate. The Rooks-Sarnicola Entrepreneur Institute opened in June 2018 and is home to the Lakeshore Fab Lab.
In August 2015, MCC opened its $9.6 million Science Center, home to the MCC Life Sciences Department and the College’s biology labs and research areas. The facility earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification – one of only four buildings in Muskegon – for its sustainable strategies used in its design and construction.
Also in 2015, MCC purchased the Muskegon Family YMCA’s West Western Avenue property on Muskegon Lake for $1.17 million as part of the college’s community-focused health and wellness initiative. The former YMCA facility was re-opened in 2016 as the MCC Lakeshore Fitness Center and closed in May 2020.
In November 2018, the 52,000 square foot MCC Health and Wellness Center opened on the main campus. The facility houses the College’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department, the Medical Assistant Program and the Athletic Department Office. The building serves three different purposes, athletic and 2 medical. On the athletic side it houses a regulation wood floor gymnasium; a one-tenth mile indoor running track; and a fitness center. One medical is the Mercy Health Partners Primary Care Center, a collaboration between MCC and its Mercy Health and Grand Valley State University educational partners to serve the medical needs of staff, faculty, students, and patrons. The second medical serves the nursing program with a state-of-the-art Health Simulation Lab as well as additional learning spaces and classrooms.
In Fall 2019, the newly remodeled MCC Art and Music Building was re-occupied and the MCC Ottawa Center opened, continuing MCC’s four decades of offering classes in Grand Haven.