Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) commenced its operation in September of 1947 on the campus of Monterey High School, holding classes from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. During this first year, 97 acres of land were purchased on Fremont Street. The following September, classes opened in converted barracks buildings with 280 students and 20 faculty members.
The campus was originally designed for approximately 1,000 students, but by 1957 the enrollment had approached this figure and it was evident that new buildings were necessary. The engineering building was constructed in 1958, the library in 1960, and the art and music center and swimming pool in 1962.
The junior college separated from the Monterey Union High School District in 1961 and became a separate junior college district. With this reorganization, the Carmel Unified School District and the Pacific Grove Unified School District became part of the Peninsula-wide junior college district.
The student population as well as the need for additional classrooms continued to grow. In 1965, the building program was renewed, and the “temporary” buildings of 1948 were replaced with new buildings for business, humanities, life sciences, physical education, physical sciences and social sciences. The Lecture Forum, the College Theater, and the Student Center were part of this campus renewal.
In 1971, the College recognized the need to meet the educational needs of the communities residing in the north side of its service area, comprised primarily of Marina and Seaside. During this time, Fort Ord was in full operation; therefore, the residents in these two communities consisted mostly of service men and women and their families. From 1971 to 1993, the College operated an education center at Fort Ord in cooperation with the U.S. Army, mainly for the benefit of armed forces personnel and their families. After the closing of the base, the Fort Ord Re-Use Authority (FORA) was formed to administer and oversee the distribution of the former Fort Ord property to various state, county and local agencies, including Monterey Peninsula College.
Several properties were slated for conveyance to Monterey Peninsula College including a parcel on 12th Street in Marina and another on Colonel Durham Street in Seaside. These properties have been conveyed to the college; they include
- MPC Education Center at Marina, whose mission is to meet the general education needs of the communities in the north end of MPC’s service area; and
- Public Safety Training Center in Seaside, which includes a Fire and Police Academy. However, the conveyance of other properties, including Parker Flats and the MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) has been delayed due to munitions cleanup requirements.
Monterey Peninsula College has enjoyed tremendous support from its residents. In November 2002, local voters approved a $145 million bond for facilities, infrastructure, and equipment at Monterey Peninsula College. Funds from the bond are being used to support the programmatic needs described in the College’s Educational/Facilities Master Plan, which includes the development of the MPC Education Center at Marina located in the former Fort Ord.
In addition, in 2003, construction of the new Library and Technology Center at the entrance to the campus was completed, and a new Plant Services building was erected near the Automotive Technology program site.
Monterey Peninsula College is part of California’s public community college system of 112 campuses in 72 districts across the state. It is a comprehensive community college that responds to the educational, cultural, and recreational needs of the community, insofar as its resources permit. The College serves the communities of Big Sur, Carmel, Carmel Valley, Del Rey Oaks, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Presidio of Monterey Annex, Sand City, and Seaside. Monterey Peninsula College classes are held on the Monterey campus, at the MPC Education Center at Marina, at the Public Safety Training Center in Seaside, and at off-campus locations.