September 16, 2019
Story by Regina Casper
The College Archive News project (Barton Archive) will now be releasing a monthly newsletter. The goal of this publication is to share college history and provide updates about the progress of various projects we are working on to transition the college’s historical collection to an actual archive collection. This is an exciting time for Barton Archive especially with the 50th Anniversary celebration just around the corner. Hope you enjoy this first edition!
The idea for Barton Community College goes back to 1960 when the Great Bend Jaycees began a study and developed a proposed bill for the state legislature to authorize a college in Barton County. It was introduced in 1961. Unfortunately, voters chose to veto it in the 1962 November election. But, as we all know, this is not the end of the story. In 1964, the topic came back up and was placed on the April 1965 city and school elections ballot. Barton County residents approved with 3,852 votes in favor and 2,883 residents voted opposed. Building the campus did not start right away. Rondeau Williams and Smith, a Great Bend architectural firm, was selected to design the campus buildings. Did you know this original drawing included a moat around the Learning Resource Center? If interested come to Barton Library to view this drawing. A copy is on display by the Cohen Center for Kansas History.
Ground-breaking ceremonies took place on November 21, 1967. Did you know this campus was once called Bissell Point Campus? Why was Bissell Point selected? The reason for the selection of 160 acres at Bissell Point was because 90% of Barton County residents resided within 12 to 15 minutes of this location. On September 3, 1969, Connie Kruckenberg, now Connie Karlin, became the first student to enroll at Barton County Community Junior College. Over 800 students were enrolled for the first semester. This far exceeded the anticipated enrollment of 200-250. The first day of class was September 8, 1969. Students, faculty, and staff utilized every available space in the three buildings they had available to them for use: Library (now Learning Resource Center), Science-Math Hall and Applied Science Hall (now Technical). These three buildings were part of phase one of construction. Phase two of construction included Fine Arts, Physical Education, Classroom and Administration buildings.
The first club to be organized on campus was the Barton College Players with 50 members. Their first production “The Wizard of Oz” was held in December. The Interrobang, the student newspaper, began publication on October 16, 1969. The Cougar Cagers, Barton’s men basketball, had a team of 12 players while Barton’s first track team had 16 members. The first squad of eight cheerleaders was selected by members of faculty and Student Senate. The Library was also known as the Media and Study Skills Center. Its magazine display or reading pit is where Murphy’s Landing is now located at. The first program or course of study to be filled was Associate Nursing.
Barton Archive will be hosting two different interactive events (Can you find me? And Who am I?) at Barton’s 50th Anniversary celebration on Saturday, September 28 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. In addition to these displays, there will be a special 50th Anniversary College history display by the Cohen Center for Kansas History. This includes a special display of Barton history through its clothing. We have received donated items along with items on loan. Each tells their own unique story. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in donating or loaning items to Barton Archive for this special display. We are in need of a clothing rack or coat rack to have these items on display. The contributions have been awesome! Let me know if you have a coat rack that can be donated to the College Archive room. Barton Archive has created a pamphlet “Barton Back Then: A college historical overview” which will be available at this event by the interactive yearbook display “Can you find me? which will be located by the library’s Periodical collection.
For more information, contact Director of Library and College Archives Regina Casper at email@example.com or (620)