The vision of a new community college in Southwestern Kansas grew out of the Kansas Community Junior College Act of 1965 and the positive action of the board members of the Liberal Unified School District No. 480. On September 15, 1967, State Superintendent of Education Kampschroeder gave his approval for Liberal's application for Seward County Community College. The date of October 24, 1967 was set aside for a countywide election to determine whether the citizens wanted a community college. The final vote carried by a margin of 3.4 to 1.
The date of the Order of Establishment for Seward County Community College was December 29, 1967. It was determined that classes could be offered after August 1, 1969. The college officially opened its doors to its first student body on September 2, 1969. From an initial enrollment of 331, the college's enrollment has steadily grown, now over 2500 students in 2012-13.
The community college occupied temporary facilities in the Epworth Hospital building and Reno Hardware Store in downtown Liberal from 1969 until the fall of 1973. The existing campus, on north highway 83, opened August 1973.
Through a charitable donation of property located at 10th and Kansas, the Adult Learning Center was established July 1992. The Colvin Adult Learning Center houses the adult education programs of Kansas State High School Diploma completion, English as a Second Language, and literacy classes. Citizenship classes are also offered through SCCC and often located at the Colvin Adult Learning Center.
On January 31, 1995, the voters of Seward County, Kansas approved a General Obligation Bond issue to increase the size of campus facilities by 40 percent. This expansion created a more effective cafeteria, student activities center, wellness and sports medicine area, additional classrooms, meeting and conference rooms. The academic and student activities expansion was opened in 1996 and 1997, respectively.
In the Fall of 1995, a groundbreaking for an agriculture building was held to house the growing agriculture program. Also, located on this forty-acre tract is an outdoor biological science classroom for wildlife and ecosystem studies. Additions to the agriculture building included a livestock washroom (2009) and a greenhouse in 2011. Through U.S. Department of Education STEM grant funds an additional greenhouse and 4-acre outdoor growing area were added to the agriculture department in 2013.
Brent Gould Field serves as home to Saints baseball and the semi-pro Liberal Bee Jays. Other outdoor athletic and activity facilities include a lighted tennis area, softball field, and a Leadership Challenge course (constructed in 2005).
Kansas Higher Education was reorganized as a result of the 1999 Legislative Session and the passage of Senate Bill 345. Prior to 1999, Kansas Community Colleges were generally supervised and coordinated by the Kansas State Department of Education. With the passage of S.B. 345, all public post-secondary educational institutions were placed under a restructured Kansas State Board of Regents.
In the Spring of 2001, the college was successful in obtaining approval from the Kansas State Board of Regents to begin a Cosmetology program. A new facility was constructed to house the cosmetology program and doors were opened for the first class July 2001.
In the Fall 2001, the College Board of Trustees approved the construction of a new 166 Student Living Center complex, replacing and demolishing the old Baughman Living Center units that were constructed in the 1970's. The new Student Living Center Complex opened its doors to students Fall 2002. The new Student Living Center complex and the two, two-story units provide a residential student living capacity of nearly 200 students.
In 2008, an agreement between the SCCC Board of Trustees and Unified School District 480 was reached which consolidated Southwest Kansas Technical School under the operations of SCCC effective July 1, 2008. The merger was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents, the US Department of Education, and the Higher Learning Commission of Colleges and Schools. The official name was changed to Seward County Community College. The addition of the technical school added approximately 40 acres of property and approximately 119,000 square feet of facilities to the SCCC campus. The facilities are primarily industrial program classrooms and labs, a truck driving range, and administrative offices.
In 2010, SCCC was awarded a US Department of Education Title V grant which provided funds for the construction of two labs, a science classroom, and an outdoor training facility for new programs in corrosion technology, process technology, and natural gas compressor technology. Those facilities were added to the south side of the TB building adjacent to the automotive technology, automotive collision repair, and HVAC departments.