50 Years in the Making: Benton Center
In 1971, LBCC opened the first headquarters for the Benton Center in a 10 x 35-foot trailer parked near CHS, offering around 80 evening classes in high school classrooms and elsewhere in Corvallis. Adult education director Orville Zielaskowski was appointed as the first center director.
In September 1977, the Benton Center moved to its current location in the former Washington Elementary School on Polk Avenue in Corvallis. Math and business technology were the first core programs offered, along with ongoing adult basic education and parent education classes.
In addition to on-site classroom space, the new building offered space for a ceramics lab, and the school's gym became home to the center's fitness classes – ever popular with community members today.
In 1994, a successful bond measure provided funds for installation of an elevator and ramps to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In November 2000, a $19.1 million bond measure passed which allowed the college to begin a $5 million renovation of the Benton Center.
Completed in 2004, the renovation included increased space for student services, as well as faculty offices, seven new classrooms and an improved entrance for the center.
Today, the Benton Center serves more than 5,000 students and community members each year. In response to growth in LBCC’s partnership program with OSU, which allows students to attend LBCC and OSU at the same time, and increased demand for the health, personal enrichment and professional development classes at the center, expansion plans are underway which will provide an additional 20,000 square feet of classroom space and increased parking spaces.