Bates Technical College marks 75th Anniversary

Bates Technical College officials are marking the school’s 75th anniversary with a series of events that kicked off earlier this month and will continue through next year.

The college opened on Sept. 4, 1940, as the Tacoma Vocational-Technical Institute in the basement of Hawthorne Elementary School in an effort to offer workforce education in Pierce County aimed at supporting the war effort, according to Bates Technical College officials. Five years later, the institute moved to South 11th Street and South Yakima Avenue in Tacoma, the current site of the college’s Downtown Campus location. In 1969, the institute was renamed L. H. Bates Vocational-Technical Institute to honor the service of longtime director of vocational education L. H. “Verne” Bates. Legislation signed by Washington State Governor Booth Gardner in 1991 resulted in Bates becoming a part of the two-year college system, renaming the institute Bates Technical College. According to college officials, the school is Washington state’s oldest, continuously-running public technical college.

School officials kicked off the year-long celebration of the college’s 75th anniversary on Tues., Sept. 22, with an Opening Day event that included informational videos, department updates, and birthday cupcakes. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed that day Bates Technical College 75th Anniversary Day, and Tacoma City Council recognized the school during its regular meeting at Tacoma City Hall.

Looking ahead, officials will celebrate the grand opening of the new Advanced Technology Center building at Central/Mohler Campus in January (see “Construction continues on Bates Tech’s $23M Advanced Technology Center,” Tacoma Daily Index, April 23, 2015; “Bates Technical College breaks ground on $23M Advanced Technology Center,” Tacoma Daily Index, March 27, 2014; and “Bates Technical College to break ground on Advanced Technology Center,” Tacoma Daily Index, March 14, 2014), and host a formal gala at the new building in May.

More information about Bates Technical College’s 75th anniversary is available online at

Similarly, Tacoma Community College recently wrapped up a year-long celebration to mark the school’s 50th anniversary (see “Tacoma Community College 50th Anniversary celebration Sept. 17,” Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 27, 2015; “Art exhibit marks Tacoma Community College’s 50th Anniversary,” Tacoma Daily Index, March 23, 2015; “Tacoma Historical Society: Author to discuss TCC’s 50th Anniversary,” Tacoma Daily Index, Jan. 28, 2015; “Tacoma Community College: E-book release party begins 50th Anniversary celebration,” Tacoma Daily Index, Jan. 14, 2015; “Tacoma Daily Index Top Stories — September 2014,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 1, 2014; and “History Maker: As TCC turns 50, one researcher will tell its story,” Tacoma Daily Index, Sept. 18, 2014).