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RCTC History

Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) is the oldest public two-year college in Minnesota. The junior college was created on a motion by Dr. Charles Mayo in 1915 and classes were offered downtown in the Coffman Building. The College moved to its current campus during the summer of 1968. A year later the vocational technical institute was created with15 program offerings. Rochester Community and Technical College was established on July 1, 1996 when legislation required state community colleges and technical colleges co-located in the same city be merged into a consolidated college.

Rochester Community and Technical College is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, which comprises 24 two-year colleges and seven state universities serving the higher education needs of Minnesota and is governed by a Board of Trustees. MnSCU (an agency of the state of Minnesota) is dedicated to providing students with a wide array of opportunities for lifelong education in both technical and academic fields, ranging from short-course certificates to the master’s degrees. MnSCU’s 54 campuses in 47 communities throughout the state offer tremendous opportunities for students to achieve their goals.

Located in Minnesota’s third largest and fastest growing city, the 518-acre campus serves as a hub for the education and workforce development needs of the region. Our mission is to provide accessible, affordable, quality learning opportunities to serve a diverse and growing community, and our vision states “Rochester Community and Technical College will be a universal gateway to world class learning opportunities.”

The college enrolls approximately 12,000 students annually in credit-based programs. Another 11,000 are served in noncredit and credit-based workforce initiatives. The faculty consists of more than 178 highly trained permanent employees and approximately 160 adjunct instructors. In addition, over 230 professional staff enhance the educational experience, including 10 full-time administrators.

Rochester Community and Technical College offers 70 credit-based programs with more than 130 credential options in the areas of liberal arts, allied health, business, services, and technical career pathways. The College’s largest programs include liberal arts, nursing, allied health, and business. A variety of delivery approaches are utilized to support student learning. These include face-to-face, online, internships, on-the-job training, clinical, cohort, and interactive television. RCTC is among MnSCU’s largest generators of online learning credits in the system which now accounts for nearly 19 percent of credits sold. A variety of educational partnerships are also in place to provide learning opportunities for our students. These include diverse articulation agreements with other higher education providers and affiliate programs with the Mayo School of Health Sciences. In addition, students wishing to finish a four-year degree can take their first two years at Rochester Community and Technical College-earning an associate degree-and then transfer to finish a bachelor's degree. The College has teamed up with Winona State University Rochester to establish the "Path to Purple" program that allows students to complete their first two years at RCTC to earn an associate’s degree and then complete their last two years at WSU to attain a bachelor’s degree.

In addition to its educational programming, RCTC offers a comprehensive student life program. These opportunities include social activities, speakers, varsity athletics, intramural sports, honor societies and music, to name a few.

Rochester Community and Technical College Campus
Four buildings were ready for use when the college made its 1968 move to the forested hillside about a mile east of the city. The structures included Goddard Library, Endicott Hall, Singley building, and the Administration building. The next additions to the campus were Rockenbach Hall, and the Plaza West Building.

The campus continued to grow with three more additions marking the next phase of construction. The Student Services Building, Art Building, and Plaza East building. The next two major projects were the College Center and theater. As the student union, the Center is aptly named, since it is at the center of students’ lives here. The college theater is one of the finest such facilities in southeastern Minnesota. It seats 350 persons and contains advanced electronic and sound systems, as well as a complete scene-making shop and dressing rooms. In 1987, it was named Hill Theater in honor of retired RCC President Charles E. Hill, who served the college from 1953 to 1982.

A classroom building opened on the RCTC campus in the fall of 1986 housing the Rochester Center of Winona State University. The Plaza West building was renamed Memorial Hall in 1988. Plaques and portraits are placed in this building to honor former college faculty/staff. The campus further evolved in late 1989 with the completion of a $16 million construction project. The project included remodeling of the library, the administrative building, and the lower level of the Goddard Building. New construction included a continuing education area featuring spacious conference rooms and state-of-the-art equipment, and a separate building to house the childcare center. Construction was completed in 1993 on the $17 million Rochester Community and Technical College facilities, which houses student services areas, classrooms, computer and science labs, as well as a number of interactive television classrooms. The Rochester Community and Technical College Sports Center facility (a collaborative effort between RCTC and the City of Rochester) was opened in May of 2002, and the Technology Center remodeling was also completed in 2002. In 2007, the former Rockenbach Gymnasium facility was renovated into a Health Science Center, and the College uses the facility as clinical sites for its allied health programs. In 2008, in collaboration with the City of Rochester, the Campus constructed a new artificial-turf winter stadium and in 2009 added the inflatable dome facility that is the second largest free standing inflatable dome in Minnesota.

In 2012, the Minnesota State Legislation authorized the City of Rochester to extend its local-option half-cent sales tax, and the RCTC projects include $6.5 million for a CTECH/STEM Village Project and $6 million to complete the final phase of the Rochester Regional Stadium/Bubble, which included additional seating to accommodate up to 5,000 spectators.

Heintz Center

The original buildings located at the Heintz Center were completed in 1969. Additions were made in 1976, 1978, and 1979, which doubled the size of the cafeteria, added classrooms, and expanded shops for the technical programs.

The Horticulture Technology Center was added to the existing buildings in 2002 to provide academic and community resources in a horticulture facility. Intercampus roads were also completed in 2002 (connecting RCTC Main and the Heintz Center), and included the first roundabouts in Minnesota.

The former Minnesota Riverland Technical College-Rochester Campus facility was dedicated as Heintz Center on May 9, 1997. The building was named after Dr. Emil Heintz, founder and first Director of Rochester Area Vocational Technical Institute. Dr. Heintz served as Director from 1966 to 1973. Dr. Heintz had served as Dean (CEO) of Brainerd Junior College from 1938 to 1944 and Dean of Rochester Junior College from 1944 until 1966. The new Rochester Community and Technical College delights in the opportunity to name this facility after a man who had roots in both previous institutions.

In 2007, the Heintz Center buildings went through a major asbestos abatement and restoration phase, resulting in a beautifully refurbished Heintz Center facility. In 2014, an addition was added to house the Rochester Workforce Center, Inc.; and in 2016, the CTECH Building (also funded through local sales tax funding) open.

Heintz Center is located at 1926 College View Road.


Contact Information
(507) 285-7210 or 1‑800‑247‑1296
Rochester Community and Technical College
851 30th Ave SE :: Rochester, MN 55904-4999
Rochester Community and Technical College, a member of Minnesota State.
RCTC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer.
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