WCTC Celebrates 90-year Anniversary

In 1920, the newly formed Waukesha Vocational School occupied quarters in the basement of Waukesha Central High School (now Central Middle School). J.E. Worthington, principal of the high school, also served as part-time director of the vocational school. The 1920 board minutes authorized "the purchase of materials to build 20 manual training benches and 20 mechanical drawing benches, the same to be constructed by the pupils as their first project."

Hired as the school's first manual training instructor was O.B. Lindholm, a native of Chippewa Falls. In 1923, Lindholm became the school's first full-time director – a position he would hold for the next quarter-century. It is from this date – 1923 – that Waukesha County Technical College calculates is 90-year history.

View Slideshow of Historical Photos

Below are College highlights from 1923-2013:

  • In 1923, enrollment at Waukesha Vocational School was 443, compared with today's annual enrollment of more than 23,000.
  • The school's annual budget in 1923 was $15,500, which included $4,500 in federal aid.
  • By 1930, Waukesha Vocational School had an enrollment of 700 and had outgrown its space in the high school basement. A new building was constructed at 222 Maple Ave. at a cost of $68,000.
  • In 1956, the College completed construction of an 11,500-square-foot addition in the south of its 11-room Maple Street location. The $186,000 addition, which opened in 1957, included classrooms for arts and crafts, home furnishings, drafting, social studies, sewing and a double multipurpose classroom that could see 100 people.
  • In 1967, Waukesha Technical Institute became Waukesha County Technical Institute.
  • On April 4, 1970, the College broke ground for WCTI's historic new $7 million campus in Pewaukee. Classes were held at the new campus almost two years later, in February of 1972.
  • Coached by Athletic Director Wally Wiese from 1970 to 1986, the WCTI Owls basketball team enjoyed 14 straight seasons with more than 20 wins, 13 league titles and eight state championships.
  • During the recession of the early 1980s, Waukesha County Technical Institute achieved record enrollment, with more than 36,000 students taking classes – most of them part time.
  • In 1988, in order to more accurately represent its mission, Waukesha County Technical Institute changed its name to Waukesha County Technical College.
  • WCTC made its debut on the Internet in 1995 and began using it to offer courses in business law, financial planning and real estate.
  • The Harry V. Quadracci Printing and Graphics Center (G Building), which houses WCTC's printing and graphic arts programs and classrooms, was completed 2002. In 2007, the College opened the Harry V. Quadracci Education and Technology Center (Q Building), a 23,600-square-foot facility built as a wing of the Printing and Graphics Center.
  • WCTC's Enrollment Center renovation was completed in 2010. Students now have seamless access to advising, counseling, admission, registration and financial aid – all conveniently located in the new Center. This has streamlined the registration process and allows shorter wait times for the College's more than 23,000 students.
  • In 2013, WCTC completed its new Transportation Building, a 5,300-square-foot facility used for the college's Truck Driving technical diploma program.

Education for a Lifetime

A History of the First 75 years of Waukesha County Technical College (1923 - 1998)