Although the official history of Seattle Central began in 1966, its main campus is the site of two important Seattle schools that preceded the present day college.
To accommodate the dramatic increase in Seattle's population caused by the Alaskan Gold rush of the 1890's, Broadway High School was built in Seattle's Capitol Hill District and opened in 1902. Broadway High graduated many of Seattle's outstanding and prominent citizens and cultivated a reputation that continued even though its educational focus changed. The Broadway High Alumni Association is extremely supportive of Seattle Central and annually contributes funds for scholarship programs at the college.
In 1946, the high school completed its gradual transition to vocational training and adult education and was named Edison Technical School. It began offering college courses in 1965 and in one year, evolved into the first community college in the city, Seattle Central Community College. North and South Seattle Community Colleges began operation in 1970.
In accordance with a 1969 master plan, extensive renovation and new construction at Seattle Central took place over a seven-year period. With the completion of the Broadway Performance Hall (built from the central section of the high school) in 1978, the college campus possesses a striking historic reminder of its past that augments the modern main building next to it. These two buildings are appropriate symbols of the school's long standing commitment to provide quality education to all who seek it. The college's Broadway campus also includes a complete Student Activity Center, Bookstore and Student Government buildings.
In 1995, Seattle Central began directing the operations of the Seattle Vocational Institute, which provides short-term job training programs. The SVI facility, located at 2120 South Jackson, was completely renovated between 1995-96 and re-opened that fall. It enrolls about 500 students each quarter.
The college operates two satellite branches, the Wood Construction Center and the Seattle Maritime Academy. The Wood Construction Program facility, located at 23rd Avenue and South Lane, offers instruction in carpentry, marine carpentry (boat building and repair) and cabinetmaking and millworking. The Seattle Maritime Academy, located on the Lake Washington Ship Canal next to the Ballard Bridge, is located in an architecturally award winning facility. Its program offerings are marine deck and marine engineering technology.