College of the Mainland was a beckoning vision in the minds of community leaders as far back as the early 1960s. The first concrete step was taken in October 1966 when the College of the Mainland Junior College District was formed. The area of the College District encompasses 237 square miles, and its taxing district includes the five independent school districts of Dickinson, Hitchcock, La Marque, Santa Fe and Texas City. Its service district includes Friendswood ISD and the part of Clear Creek ISD located in Galveston County.
The second step toward realization of the dream was taken on December 10, 1966, when the voters of the College District approved a bond issue of $2,850,000 and supporting taxes for debt service and operation. In quick succession, the Board of Trustees selected a president, hired faculty members and staff and located temporary facilities, and College of the Mainland came into existence. The first class of 414 students enrolled in September 1967.
Students attended classes in temporary quarters until the first phase of construction was completed on 120 acres by Palmer Highway and Amburn Road in Texas City. On February 27, 1970, the College moved to its beautiful new campus, which consisted of an Administration Building, Learning Resources Center, Math-Science Building, Technical-Vocational Building and a Central Utilities Building.
On May 16, 1970, the citizens of the Junior College District approved a second bond issue of $4,750,000 and supporting taxes for operation and debt service of the second phase of construction. The second building program included a Fine Arts Building, a Physical Education Complex, a Student Center, a 100 percent increase of the Technical-Vocational Building facilities and a 60 percent expansion of the Math-Science Building facilities. The second construction phase was completed in September 1972, followed by the building of a print shop and a firing range.
A 20,000-square-foot addition to the Technical-Vocational Building was completed in fall 1985. The expansion houses computer labs, classrooms, offices and a Child Development Lab designed as a training ground for students enrolled in the Child Development Program.
In 1991, two Industrial Education Buildings were completed to house the Auto Mechanics Technology and Diesel Mechanics Technology Programs. The well-equipped facilities added 25,335 square feet of building space to the campus, for a grand total of 300,745 square feet.
In 1999, a new 10,800-square-foot Public Service Careers Building was opened across the esplanade from the Fine Arts Building. The new facility houses faculty offices, classrooms and labs for three major public service career fields—law enforcement, emergency medical services, pharmacy technician and fire protection.
In 2003, the College opened a 7,500-square-foot learning center in League City to address the growing education and training needs of COM’s north Galveston County service area. The COM Learning Center-North County offers college credit, dual credit and continuing education classes for students of all ages.
COM’s Gulf Coast Safety Institute was established in 2007 to provide safety and health training and education to workers and employers.
In 2016, COM’s 50 Plus Program, which has more than 1,200 students, opened a facility at Gulfway Plaza in La Marque.
The following year COM leased a second learning location in League City to house more dual credit and academic classes to keep up with demand in the area.