Celebrating 70 years at ACC
A Video Tour of ACC's Alpena Campus
As ACC continues to grow and expand, what better way to see these changes than through a video tour of our Alpena Campus! From where we started in 1952 to where we are today in 2022, join us as we explore our history and look ahead to the future.
A Virtual Time Capsule
ACC is compiling a virtual time capsule to preserve the memories of those who are part of the college’s history and learn more about what ACC alumni have accomplished since their graduation. If you'd like to participate in this endeavor, click the button below to complete the survey.
For questions or to get involved, contact Mary Eagan, the Director of Alumni Relations, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (989) 358-7344
ACC 70th Anniversary Open House
September 17, 2022
Open House Tour Book - PDF Version
Besser Technical Center
Besser Technical Center Points of Interest
- Besser Technical Center was constructed in 1962 as the second building on campus with funds donated by Jesse Besser/Besser Foundation totaling $1.3 million dollars; what The Alpena News dubbed as “one of the costliest structures built in the community in recent years, linking Northern Michigan with the technical age.”
- While the Besser Blockmakers Workshop program was created as a sales-support educational program in 1954, a full associate in applied science degree curriculum for concrete technology was first offered in 1967, coinciding with the 1967 $365,535 addition to Besser Technical Center.
- Coursework consisted of drafting, building construction and materials, concrete design, concrete products, and a summer co-op placement along with general education core in English, political science, history, and mathematics.
- Besser Technical Center now houses a variety of technical education programs and mathematics and physics classrooms as well as the ACC Foundation and the president’s suite of offices.
Newport Center Points of Interest
- December 1993 marked the ceremonial groundbreaking for the $8.2 million Student/Community/Business/Learning Resources Center known as the Center Building (now renamed as the Newport Center). Newport Center was the sixth building on the Alpena Campus.
- Construction occurred between 1994-96. The building included new seminar rooms for hosting public meetings, a new theatre hosting an annual series of performances, and an expanded library that was easily accessible and connected to the Internet.
- The building connected to 90 percent of the rest of the instructional space and provided food service spaces, student gathering spaces, fitness, athletics, and performing arts spaces that combined to create an overall collegiate atmosphere open to the public that previously did not exist.
- At the time of its construction, the Newport Center more than doubled the value of ACC facilities to $34 million and increased the square footage of instructional space by 64 percent.
- Intended as an all-purpose community center with a library, gym, theatre, community meeting rooms, student lounges, and classrooms, the Center now also houses our Office of Information Technology and general education courses (political science, history, English, psychology, economics, and business) with state-of-the-art remote access technology.
- The building was renamed the Donald L. Newport Center in 2004 in honor of Dr. Donald L. Newport, ACC president from 1988-2003.
Natural Resources Center Points of Interest
- The Charles R. Donnelly Natural Resources Center was conceived in 1967 and completed in 1972. It was named after Charles L. Donnelly, ACC president from 1977-1988.
- NRC once enjoyed the twin distinctions of being the tallest building in the county (four stories) and the largest building on campus, entering Alpena into the age of skyscrapers!
- The school board sought Higher Education Federal Assistance Funds (HEFA) to help finance 40 percent of the $1,875,000 project to house several natural sciences programs of study.
- NRC originally contained a 125-seat lecture hall, administrative offices, a library, and learning center along with separate fisheries and forestry facilities.
- NRC currently houses science classes/labs, Humanities and English courses on the first and second floors, faculty offices on the third floor, and the Board Room on the fourth floor.
- The Nursing Program was located on the second floor before the renovation of Van Lare Hall.
- In 2006, the NRC science labs were upgraded as part of the Pathways to the Future Campaign.
- The president’s office was formerly located on the second floor until renovation to Besser Technical Center in the 1980s; the ACC Library was also located on the second floor before it was moved to the Newport Center.
World Center for Concrete Technology Points of Interest
- Harris Hall, located on six acres at the eastern edge of campus, is a $7.7 million facility which houses the World Center for Concrete Technology. The 42,360-square-foot building contains a full-size concrete products manufacturing plant as well as labs for mason training, certified testing, and instruction; a computer lab; three classrooms, offices, and a conference room. Construction began in April 1999 and opening festivities took place in August 2000.
- The associate degree Concrete Technology program and the Blockmakers Workshop® program relocated there from Besser Technical Center during the spring of 2000.
- The WCCT also houses industrial testing services and the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC).
Electrical Power Technology Center Points of Interest
- The $5 million Ferris H. Werth Electrical Power Technology Center supports ACC’s Utility Technician and Electrical Apprentice programs by providing state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.
- To create this new facility, ACC extended the existing World Center for Concrete Technology building, adding approximately 21,000 square feet of space for classrooms, equipment labs, faculty offices, and bays for four bucket trucks or other pieces of heavy equipment.
- The EPTC houses ACC’s innovative bachelor’s of science degree in Electrical Systems Technology. This BS program consists of four years of classes that build upon existing coursework that ACC offers in utility technology and electrical maintenance, as well as the development of new courses in the 300 & 400 levels.
- In addition to the new labs and equipment, ACC has plans for new academic programs to train technicians for occupations in the substations, relay and control, metering, and power generation technologies. The building also features a wind turbine and photovoltaic panel array for generating green energy.
- While the Utility Technician program started in the 1990-1991 academic year and was initially held in the Besser Technical Center Annex next to Auto Body, the new EPTC was constructed in 2014-15 and opened for classes in the Spring Semester 2015.
Fine Arts Center Points of Interest
- As part of Pathways to the Future Campaign, preparation for the Fine Arts Center was launched in 2006. The old Graphic Arts Building (formerly the Forestry laboratory) was razed to make way for a new Fine Arts Center where classes would begin in Fall Semester 2007.
- The new 12,000 square foot building contains photography, ceramics, and painting labs in addition to gallery space for displaying artwork.
- Prior to the building of the Joynton Fine Arts Center, ACC’s fine arts program was located at East Campus at Miller and Walnut streets (now the Boys and Girls Club). East Campus had been acquired in 1977 to house art, physical education, athletics, and community services programs. The East Campus facility had served as Alpena Catholic Central High School from 1950-1971, then served as Central Junior High School for Alpena Public Schools.
- An earlier version of the Graphic Arts program was located in Besser Technical Center where the Facilities Department is currently located.
- The Olin H. Joynton Fine Arts Center was named for Dr. Olin H. Joynton, who served as ACC president from 2004-2015.
Van Lare Hall Points of Interest
- Van Lare Hall was the first building on ACC’s campus. Originally named Central Hall, it was later renamed to Van Lare Hall in honor of Stanley Van Lare, ACC president from 1952-1968.
- During 1957, all the activities to eliminate overcrowding and establish a physically separate college site came to fruition with the first Alpena Campus building, Central Hall, on Johnson Street. The cost of the building was $575,000.
- Van Lare Hall was the first step toward establishing ACC’s physical and psychological autonomy from the Alpena Public Schools system. More autonomy would come during the 1980s and 1990s with more buildings and a developing identity as a distinct institution for the purpose of higher education.
- In 1962, a $206,000 science wing was added to Central Hall followed by the purchase of the former County Home Building on the corner of US23 and Johnson for use as a student center, including cafeteria services, a bookstore, and Student Services Department.
- In 2021 Van Lare Hall underwent extensive renovation as part of the Healthy Futures Start Here campaign. The renovation included big changes to the front entrance, the Admissions Office, the student lounge overlooking the Thunder Bay River, and an addition at the east end of the building as part of creating state-of-the-art labs for the Nursing Program.
- Also in 2021 construction began on the Fitzpatrick Lecture Hall. Tim and Sue Fitzpatrick approached the College about adding a lecture hall featuring high-quality audio and video capabilities which could be used by a proposed Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The Fitzpatrick’s extraordinarily generous donation of $1.45 million donation coupled with $160,000 from the College for the video wall behind the podium allowed the project to move ahead.
Madeline Briggs University Center & Hoop House
Madeline Briggs University Center Points of Interest
- The late Madeline Briggs was married to John Briggs, a longtime member of the ACC Board of Trustees and its current chairman. Madeline was a lifelong teacher and student who, just prior to her death, became the first student to receive a Master of Arts Degree in Education through the University Center at Alpena Community College. Earning this degree was the culmination of a longtime goal that had been interrupted several times by moving or other family priorities. An outstanding educator and student, Madeline was recognized by her peers, students, and community members as a highly competent and dedicated teacher.
- The Briggs University Center was first known as the fisheries laboratory when it was constructed adjacent to Van Lare Hall in 1972 for $186,000.
- After the fisheries program was phased out the Nursing Program moved into the building in 1984.
- The building is currently home of the Association of Lifelong Learners, a not-for-profit organization which sponsors, promotes and encourages lifelong educational and enrichment experiences for people of all ages in Northeast Michigan.
- The Briggs University Center has also served as the hub for ACC’s university partners. Currently Northwood University and Davenport University have offices in the building.
- The hoop house started life as a project of the Friends of the Farmers’ Market in summer of 2013. It was erected by ACC’s maintenance crew with a little help from some of the Friends.
- A group of volunteers grow produce in the hoop house; all of the produce is donated to non-profit agencies in Alpena. Most of the produce goes to The Friendship Room, which often shares it with other places that help feeding people in need.
- The main thrust of the hoop house is to provide quality produce to help feed the poor in the area. Only organic seeds from the best suppliers are used; any fertilizer or pesticide used is organic. All money used to support the hoop house is donated by the volunteers or other private persons.