Benton Center

LBCC had been conducting evening adult education classes in Corvallis High School classrooms since 1967, having taken over the program from CHS. Under LBCC President Raymond J. Needham, the Benton Center was opened in Corvallis in December 1971. A 10 x 35-foot trailer parked near Corvallis High School served as headquarters. Orville (Ski) Zielaskowski was the director; he was also LBCC's director of adult education. The center offered about 80 evening classes in the high school's classrooms and elsewhere in Corvallis.

In September 1977, the Benton Center moved to new headquarters in the former Washington Elementary School in Corvallis, originally built in 1923. The new space accommodated labs for ceramics; math and business technology became the core programs offered, in addition to ongoing adult basic education and parent education. The school's gym became home to the center's fitness classes. LBCC's first microcomputer lab was established at the Benton Center in the early 1980s.

With money from the successful 1994 bond measure, the center installed an elevator and ramps to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The $19.1 million bond measure that voters passed in November 2000 allowed planning to begin on a $5 million renovation of the Benton Center. The Corvallis Planning Commission approved architectural plans for the renovation in October 2002, with the actual work taking place in 2003-04. The project included increased space for student services, as well as faculty offices, seven new classrooms and an improved entrance for the center.

Administration and student services offices were moved in order to restore the original entry to the building facing 9th Street. A student lounge on the first floor of a new two-story atrium became the hub of the building, providing space for study, socializing and eating, and room for queuing during busy registration times. Registration/information and the bookstore were located nearby. The second-floor learning and career center was designed to house two counselor offices, a testing area, group study tables and several computer stations for homework.

A conference room was equipped with ITV (two-way audio and video instructional television), and a new 3,000-square-foot activity room provided space for the ever-popular fitness classes. The ceramics program moved into a newly designed studio with attached kiln and glaze-mixing areas; it was named in memory of O. Robert Adams, a lifelong supporter of education. The formal dedication was held September 15, 2004.