General Information at College of San Mateo - History of The San Mateo County Community College District
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General Information
History of The San Mateo County Community College District

Starting with just 35 students when it first opened its doors at the Baldwin campus in downtown San Mateo in 1922, San Mateo County Community College District has grown to a complex of three modern campuses serving more than 25,000 day and evening students from throughout San Mateo County.

In early years, the District consisted only of the area within the San Mateo Union High School District. In 1937, the Jefferson Union and Half Moon Bay high school districts were included. Sequoia Union High School and South San Francisco Unified School Districts became part of the College District in the 1960s; La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District joined in 1976.

First classes were held in a building shared with San Mateo High School in downtown San Mateo. In 1923, the College moved to a large house on the Kohl Estate, in what is now San Mateo's Central Park. Four years later, the high school occupied a new campus and the College moved back to the Baldwin campus.

In 1939, a new CSM campus went into operation at North Delaware Street and Peninsula Avenue, San Mateo, but because of World War II, development of the site was curtailed. When the war ended, the College leased the Merchant Marine Cadet School at Coyote Point, San Mateo, and added those facilities to the classrooms at the Baldwin and Delaware campuses, conducting classes simultaneously at three separate locations.

In 1957, the Board of Trustees developed a 25-year District master plan based on the recommendations of a citizens' advisory committee, and the same year submitted a $5.9 million bond issue to voters that was approved by a three-to-one margin.

The bond issue victory cleared the way for prompt acquisition of the present College of San Mateo campus and also provided funds for purchase of a 111-acre site west of Skyline Boulevard and south of Sharp Park Road in San Bruno. A third site, of 131 acres west of the Farm Hill subdivision on the Redwood City-Woodside line, was purchased in 1962.

The current College of San Mateo campus was opened in 1963, followed by Cañada College, Redwood City, in 1968, and Skyline College, San Bruno, in 1969. Construction of Cañada and Skyline was made possible in large part from proceeds from a second bond issue of $12.8 million approved by District voters in 1964.