Gateway's History | GCTC
Boone Campus

Gateway's History

Pre-KCTCS General History Leading to Development of Gateway Community & Technical College

Northern Kentucky Technical College was formed from three forerunner schools in 1997 following the passage of the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act (Act). Northern Kentucky Technical College subsequently evolved into Gateway Community & Technical College. The three schools that eventually merged to become Gateway were Northern Kentucky State Vocational School, Northern Campbell Vocational School and Henry E. Pogue IV Health Occupations Center.


Northern Kentucky State Vocational School

This school traced its origins to 1939 when Distributive Education began to be taught in Kenton County high schools. Additional programs were offered in 1940 when the National Defense Training Program Legislation became effective to provide skilled labor for national defense. James A. Caywood, then superintendent of Kenton County schools, was instrumental in organizing a multi-county effort to address the urgent need for trained workers. Clifford H. Ficke, who had been active in Distributive Education, was appointed coordinator. He formed an advisory committee chaired by Al Whitehouse. The first class of about 40 students was set up in July 1940, and by August 32 classes involving about 800 students were being held in any available space in Newport, Erlanger, Covington, Ludlow and Fort Thomas. 

As training demand grew, the Kenton County Fiscal Court in 1941 purchased the old Post Office Building at Park Place and Scott in downtown Covington for the Kenton County Vocational School. More than 1,000 students enrolled in defense-related technical areas. In late 1943, attention began to turn to the post-war future of vocational education. Caywood and Ficke led an initiative to gain state support for a local vocational school. John Shepherd, the board of education’s attorney, prepared a bill sponsored by Representative Sylvester Wagner and Senator Alex Howard. The legislation passed effective in June 1944. The state began operating the school seven months later. In January 1945, the name was changed to Northern Kentucky State Vocational School. 

Around 1959, the search began for an adequate site to build a new facility. With the help of John J. Molony, then Mayor of Covington, a tract of land on a hilltop overlooking the City of Covington was found. On March 11, 1961, Governor Bert Combs and Wendell Butler, Superintendent of Public Instruction, broke ground for the new school. The facility was dedicated in mid-June 1962, and classes began July 1. A second building was added in 1968 to accommodate increased enrollment and additional programs.

In 1968, the State Board of Education and the Bureau of Vocational Education redefined the regional boundaries for Vocational Education. The school was renamed the Northern Kentucky Area Vocational School and served 13 counties. Facilities in Maysville and Carrollton served the eastern and western edges of the region. In May 1970, a new director, James D. Patton, was appointed. In 1971, under his leadership, a Regional Advisory Committee for the Northern Area was appointed by the State Board of Education. The committee recommended adding four vocational facilities to serve secondary students in Boone, Campbell, Grant, Kenton and Pendleton counties. The Northern Kentucky Area Vocational School then returned to its original purpose of serving postsecondary and adult students. Between 1971 and 1997, the school operated with this focus, in later years under the aegis of the Workforce Development Cabinet, serving the training needs of Northern Kentucky students and employers. 

Northern Campbell State Vocational-Technical School 

This school had similar origins. It was approved by the state board of education in 1973, funded in 1974 and opened in 1978 to provide postsecondary education and training, as well as vocational training for high school students. The first students completed in June 1979. 

The Henry E. Pogue IV Health Occupations Center

More commonly known as the Northern Kentucky Health Occupations Center, the school opened in the fall of 1983 and graduated its first group of completers in the spring of 1984. The center offered postsecondary programs for adults and extension programs for working adults. It was operated by the state through the Department for Adult and Technical Education, a division of the Cabinet for Workforce Development. Early program offerings included medical assisting, medical office technology, pharmacy technology and practical nursing.

Transformation to Gateway Community & Technical College

The 2000 General Assembly approved the concept of a comprehensive Northern Kentucky Community and Technical College when it designated capital project funding for Phase I of the “Northern Kentucky Community and Technical College.”  On December 1, 2001, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System Board of Regents created 16 districts, formally identifying the Northern Kentucky Community and Technical College District.  Dr. G. Edward Hughes was employed as the founding President/CEO of the College on December 1, 2001.  In spring and fall 2002, the college engaged in a community-based process to identify a new name for Northern Kentucky Community and Technical College. On September 16, 2002, the college’s Board of Directors endorsed the new name “Gateway Community & Technical College”. The KCTCS Board of Regents approved the new name on October 3, 2002; and the Council on Occupational Education recognized it on November 19, 2002.

Internal Reference Materials

  • A History of Northern Kentucky State Vocational School
  • Origin and Development of the Northern Kentucky Area Vocational School, Covington, Ky.
  • Northern Kentucky Vocational Education, Region Seven, Accreditation Self-Study, 1982-83
  • Kentucky Tech 1993 Self Student North Central Region Northern Kentucky Area

Inventory of Historical Artifacts

  • Reference materials noted above
  • Additional Accreditation Self-Study Volumes from earlier years
  • Scanned published photos from A History of Northern Kentucky State Vocational School
  • Exterior building photos of Covington, Edgewood and Highland Heights campuses, which are the buildings that housed the three forerunner schools.
  • General Assembly approves concept for comprehensive community and technical college for Northern Kentucky
  • Baseline enrollment at predecessor schools: 1,106
  • KCTCS creates 16 college districts, including the Northern Kentucky Community and Technical College District
  • Dr. G Edward Hughes selected as founding president and CEO of the college
  • Land acquired for new Boone Campus and $10 million appropriated by the Kentucky Legislature to fund initial phase
  • Enrollment nearly doubles to 2,145
  • Name changed to Gateway Community & Technical College
  • William P. Butler, chairman and chief executive officer of Corporex Companies, Inc., donates 6.4 acres of land to expand Boone Campus site
  • Gateway and Northern Kentucky University enter joint admissions partnership in which Gateway students can transfer to NKU
  • Enrollment increases 21 percent to 2,597
  • The Toebben Companies donate land and improvements for Boone Campus
  • Gateway approved to offer Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees (transfer degrees)
  • Gateway breaks ground for Boone Campus
  • Gateway creates first on-site extension center at Citi, offering college credit and non-credit workforce development classes
  • Enrollment increases 13 percent to 2,937
  • Gateway approved to offer Associate of Applied Science degrees in nursing, in major move to expand workforce preparation for the health care industry
  • University of Florida recognizes Citi and Gateway partnership as one of the nation’s top 10 economic development partnerships; partnership receives Bellwether Award
  • Kentucky Board of Nursing approves Gateway AAS nursing degree
  • Gateway enters $1.25 million partnership with St. Elizabeth Medical Center to help fund associate degree nursing program
  • Extension centers are created at Mazak and the Internal Revenue Service
  • Gateway and Thomas More announce articulation agreement enabling Gateway students to transfer to Thomas More to complete a four-year business degree
  • Enrollment reaches a record 2,977 students
  • Boone Campus is dedicated in December and classes begin in January 2006
  • Gateway ranks as the seventh fastest growing public two-year college in the nation between 2004 and 2005, according to statistics released by Community College Week. The ranking applies to colleges with enrollment between 2,500 and 4,999 students and is based on data supplied by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Ground broken for Allied Health/Sciences Center classroom facility at the Edgewood Campus (the former Henry E. Pogue IV Health Occupations Center)
  • Design work completed for Boone Campus Phase II: Center for Advanced Manufacturing 
  • Gateway is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees
  • Renovation and expansion of Edgewood Campus completed; Nursing and Allied Health Science Center opens for classes; Student Services Center opens as a one-stop shop for admissions, enrollment, advising, financial aid, tuition payment, disability services, student support services and other student services
  • Construction begins on Center for Advanced Manufacturing
  • Gateway announces agreement in principle with Kenton County Public Library and Covington Independent Public Schools to create an Urban Campus on Scott Boulevard in downtown Covington
  • Enrollment climbs 21 percent to a record 4,206 students, surpassing 4,000 students for the first time
  • Gateway leases former Two Rivers Middle School on Scott Boulevard in downtown Covington as Phase I of proposed Urban Campus and relocates Urban Center to the leased facility
  • Center for Advanced Manufacturing opens for classes for the first time with the Fall 2010 semester
  • Gateway Assessment Center becomes Professional Prometric testing center
  • Gateway and the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky begin shuttle service between Gateway locations
  • Gateway receives multi-million grant to establish Instructional Design program and technology center in Covington
  • Gateway graduates 1,145 students – more than Gateway total enrollment in 2001

  • Partnership with Thomas More enables Gateway associate degree graduates guaranteed admission to Thomas More and scholarships of at least $10,000

  • Gateway receives federal TAACCCT grant of $2.4 million to expand manufacturing programs, establish logistics and CDL program
  • Gateway and Northern Kentucky University launch Gateway2NKU dual admission program
  • Renovation begins on former Marx Furniture store at 516 Madison Avenue in Covington as part of Urban Metro Campus rollout
  • Center for Technology, Innovation and Enterprise opens at 516 Madison Avenue as cutting-edge classroom facility at Urban Metro Campus
  • Gateway one of 24 colleges nationwide to receive federal ‘First in the World’ program grant of $2.3 million to create innovative instructional spaces designed to promote retention and engagement
  • The Professional Services building opens on the Urban Metro Campus, home to The Massage Clinic by Gateway and other health professions programs.
  • Gateway Transportation Technology Center officially opens at previous Robke dealership location. 
  • Dr. Fernando Figueroa hired as Gateway’s second president
  • Recognized as an American Welding Society (AWS) training and certification site
  • Named in top 25 of Best Online Programs in U.S. by
  • Gateway’s Boone County GED program named in the top 5 in the state
  • Dr. Fernando Figueroa installed as Gateway’s second president
  • Amsterdam Property officially sold
  • Expanded transfer agreement with Mount St. Joseph University making it much easier for students who completed an associate degree transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree 
  • The LIFT the TriState collaboration amongst the Freestore Foodbank, BelFlex Staffing Network, Life Learning Center and Gateway was launched
  • Gateway and St. Elizabeth for Paramedic Partnership. This partnership allows paramedic educators to develop curriculum that will help to streamline healthcare provided during the crucial pre-hospital time period.
  • Gateway partners with UK and the KY Transportation Cabinet to create new Transportation Construction certificate program.
  • Gateway offers free childcare for students. Gateway and Learning Grove offered a pilot childcare program for Gateway students.
  • Gateway reveals new Automotive Technology Lab.  The lab prepares students for high-paying automotive repair careers.
  • Gateway received a $32,315 grant from Duke Energy Foundation to create a new lineworker certificate.
  • Gateway students participate in BLINK installation. BLINK is one of the largest light, art and projection mapping events in the nation.
  • Gateway launches a new lineworker training certificate program in the Spring 2020 semester.
  • The Gateway Foundation was one of four 2020 Impact 100 Grant Recipients valued at $100,000 each. The funds support the Food for Thought Pantry.