History of Fort Scott Community College

Established in 1919, Fort Scott Community College is the oldest public community college in Kansas. The first graduating class in 1921 had two members. Originally, Fort Scott Junior College shared the Fort Scott High School building and operated as an extension of the high school program for students’ 13th and 14th years of public education. 

The college became a separate institution with a county-wide district pursuant to a 1965 act of the Kansas Legislature, and was renamed Fort Scott Community Junior College. After Bourbon County voters approved a general-obligation bond issue to purchase the land and construct the first two buildings, about 200 students moved to the present 150-acre campus in October 1967. Some federal funds also paid part of the original $1.2 million cost. In 1967, FSCC also began offering courses in Paola.

The Administration Building was added in 1973. This building includes administrative offices and meeting rooms, cafeteria, college bookstore, classrooms, and an adjacent dormitory. In 2010, the building was renamed the Dick Hedges Administration Building.

In 1982, the college completed the 38,500 square-foot Arnold Arena, named in honor of Emory Arnold, an FSCC graduate and retired administrator. The arena serves agricultural, business, and sports, as well as community, state, and regional organizations. One side consists of a rodeo arena with earth floor and pipe fencing. The other half contains a basketball gym, weight training area, athletic dressing rooms, classrooms, a computer lab, and athletic offices.

In 1986, FSCC acquired the Pittsburg School of Beauty from Pittsburg State University. A year later, FSCC teamed up with several entities to provide workforce training and other classes at the Pittsburg Education Center.

N. Jack Burris Hall, located between the Administration Building and Arnold Arena, was completed in 1989. The 3,600 square-foot building houses the Environmental Water Technologies program, which provides training for operators of water and wastewater treatment plants throughout Kansas. The FSCC program is one of a few in the nation to provide comprehensive training in this specialty.  Burris Hall also holds many of the Agriculture classes, as well as Agriculture instructor offices. 

Boileau Hall opened in 2002 and is located to the northwest of Burris Hall. This dormitory houses more than 100 students in a suite-type environment. It offers students a relaxed living atmosphere with a game room, spacious quarters, and 103 space parking lot.

In 2004, FSCC purchased the Sisters of Mercy Convent upon its closing. FSCC renovated the space for community rooms and the nursing program. Also in 2004, FSCC remodeled a wing of the former Miami County Hospital at 501 S. Hospital Drive in Paola, which then became the Miami County Campus. This expansion nearly doubled FSCC’s campus in Paola and created more opportunities for programs in the northern tier.

The Gordon Parks Museum and Center for Diversity was established in 2004 by FSCC to honor Fort Scott native Gordon Parks and to use his powerful life story to teach and inspire. Parks, who was a long-time photographer for Life magazine, also excelled as a writer, poet, musician, and filmmaker.   

In 2009, FSCC opened the new Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center. This building includes a 600-seat theatre, community meeting rooms, the Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity, and the Kathy Ellis Academic Hall, which houses FSCC arts programs including art, band, choir, speech, and theatre.

In 2010, FSCC successfully secured the Kansas National Guard Armory building for campus expansion. John Deere and welding are housed in the armory.

The original Academic Building was renamed Robert & Sylvia Bailey Hall in 2011.

In 2014, the School of Cosmetology moved into the building at the southwest corner of Bailey Hall. The College also opened the new rodeo building for rodeo student-athletes.

Contact Information

2108 South Horton
Fort Scott, Kansas 66701

Phone: 620-223-2700
Toll Free: 800-874-3722

Administrative Office Fax: 620-223-4927
Academic Office Fax: 620-223-6530