Mineral Area College was founded in April 1965 by popular vote of the residents of six public school districts in St. Francois and Madison counties and portions of Washington and Ste. Genevieve counties. The school districts include North County R-1, Central R-3, Farmington R-7, Bismarck R-5, West County R-4, and Fredericktown R-1. The college became a successor to Flat River Junior College, the third-oldest public junior college in Missouri, established in 1922 as part of the Flat River Public School System. Since then, thousands of graduates have entered the working world with the college’s degrees or certificates.
In continuing the education legacy of Flat River Junior College, Mineral Area College evolved into a comprehensive community college. The academic transfer program almost doubled in size and scope within the first five years of the college’s existence. In 1966, the career and technical education division was added. The first vocationally-oriented programs were initiated in September 1966 and consisted of secretarial practice, business management and two technology programs. In 1967, a certificate course in practical nursing was introduced; in 1968, an associate degree in nursing program was added.
In February 1970, the young institution moved into its new facilities on a 226-acre campus located near U.S. 67 and entered a transitional period of gradual expansion. At present, Mineral Area College offers 35 career and technical education programs and required general education courses which can be applied to almost all academic majors.
In 1985-86, the college completed significant additions to its facilities: a 350-seat Community Center (Fine Arts Theatre); a remodeled learning resources center complete with second floor space, to increase the library’s usable area by 3,800 square feet; and the Careers Wing, to house career and technical education programs.
Later additions to the campus included: the North College Center, which provides classrooms, several offices, and four large meeting rooms; and the Mineral Area College Student Center, which houses the Mineral Area College Bookstore, the Wellness Center, and the Athletic Department offices.
In March 1996, residents of the district voted in the Beyond 2000 bond issue to expand the college with the addition of a Telecommunications and Technology Center, a Public Services Center, a Tourism Education and Information Center (now the Community Education Building), and a General Services Building (an addition to the Field House).
The privatized housing complex, College Park, was added in 2000 to offer a unique housing package to students.
In April 2002, voters approved a $6 million bond issue to build a freestanding outreach center in Fredericktown; to update and enhance the college’s theatre, Robert E. Sechrest Sr. Field House, faculty offices, Concourse Area and other facets of the Park Hills campus; and to build a new ballpark on the Park Hills campus. The measure also provided for extensive landscaping, construction, and the addition of a waterfall to the quadrangle in the center of campus.
In 2004, the former B&B car dealership, located near the U.S. 67 exit in Leadington, was purchased for additional storage and support for general services.
In Summer-Fall 2010, federal and state monies helped make possible a new Allied Health addition to the Careers Wing, which added labs, offices and classrooms for the nursing, radiology, and paramedic programs. The following summer, in 2011, the college embarked on a major renovation of the Cardinals Nest cafeteria to accommodate an expansion of food service.
The public passed, by 76%, another bond issue in April 2011 which was designed to make improvements to MAC’s buildings in Fredericktown and Park Hills, while keeping the college’s tax rate the same. The measure was intended to provide additional classroom and meeting space for Fredericktown students, as well as renovate that center’s science lab and create a more accessible entrance. The main campus in Park Hills will see the C.H. Cozean Library completely renovated, with the addition of an elevator and a skywalk between the library and the Arts & Sciences Building. The main campus science labs will be renovated, and Student Services and Business offices will be relocated to a new addition that will better accommodate staffing increases that have been necessitated by student enrollment increases.
The projects associated with the April 2011 bond issue are slated for completion by Fall 2013.