On October 10, 1961, Highline Community College in Des Moines opens its doors to 385 students. Daytime classes are held in portable buildings on the campus of Glacier High School and night classes are held in the high school.
In 1961, the state legislature allowed the formation of two-year colleges in counties where a four-year institution already existed. Highline Community College was organized that same year by the Highline School District to provide post-secondary education. The 80-acre campus located at S 240th Street and Pacific Highway S was occupied in the fall of 1964.
Students did not have to have a high school diploma to attend Highline, but they had to have attained 18 years of age. In addition to classes to prepare students for entry into four-year institutions, Highline offered general education, technical, and community service courses such as small boat handling, home landscaping, and beginning bridge.
One unique challenge that the school had to confront was noise from aircraft using Sea-Tac International Airport. Soundproofing became part of planning and subsequent new buildings were constructed entirely without windows.
The 2000-2002 catalog reports that approximately 10,000 students attend Highline Community College each year.