Carl Albert State College (CASC) has a rich tradition of serving eastern Oklahoma with educational opportunities, beginning in 1933 when it first opened its doors in the old Poteau High School building during the Great Depression. The college was established to offer opportunities to students who could not afford the cost of leaving home to obtain a higher education. Some of the first faculty members were University of Oklahoma professors who lost their teaching positions when that university was forced to curtail services because of the depressed economy. The college closed during World War II, but reopened immediately after the war to provide educational services for returning veterans and their families.
CASC has been in business ever since, growing from one classroom building at its present location in 1968 with approximately 300 students, to the present campus, including 13 resident centers, serving thousands of students from throughout Oklahoma and western Arkansas.
Originally named Poteau Junior College, it was changed in the 1950’s to Poteau Community College, and in 1971 to Carl Albert Junior College in honor of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who represented the congressional district in which the school is located. On October 25, 1973, the college became a part of the state system of higher education as a state-owned and state-operated institution. In May 1990, the Oklahoma Legislature approved a bill which changed the school’s name to Carl Albert State College.
The state of the art Deanna J. Reed Science and Math Center is one of the most recent additions to Carl Albert State College, and the newest residential housing unit is the J.C. Holton Family Leader Center. The CASC Development Foundation’s focus on scholarships and campus housing continues to support the efforts of the college to make student success a priority. Carl Albert State College’s Scholars Program draws top students from across the region to live on campus while earning their degrees. The Scholars Program is an integral piece of what makes Carl Albert State College unique.
The College offers a wide variety of degrees, with health science programs being some of the most sought after degrees. The nursing program continues to expand and provide the region with well-trained health care professionals. Physical Therapist Assistant is an additional health related programs currently available at Carl Albert.
CASC’s central campus is located in Poteau, Oklahoma. CASC also has a location in Sallisaw, Oklahoma that opened in spring 1979. Initially, all classes were taught in public school facilities. In the fall of 1990, classes were moved to a vacant elementary school building. In 1992, CASC Sallisaw began operating in its current location in the Sallisaw Industrial Park. At that time, six classrooms were available to serve 170 students.
Continued rapid enrollment created the need for additional space in Sallisaw, and in the summer of 2000 a state bond issue was passed to expand the Sequoyah County campus. The bond issue did not generate the necessary revenue to fund the planned 25,000-square foot addition. Local business leaders, however, were successful in the introduction and subsequent passing of a half-cent sales tax increase for a four-year period. As a result, construction on the expansion began in August 2001 and was completed summer 2002.
The CASC Sallisaw campus is spacious, modern facility with state-of-the-art technology, computer labs, science labs, and a large multi-purpose area that regularly hosts local civic and community outreach events. In fall 2005, CASC received funding from the Higher Education Capital Bond Program for construction of a 28,000 square foot library and classroom complex on the CASC Sallisaw campus. The citizens of Sallisaw matched the Higher Education Bond funds with a city one-half cent sales tax. Completion in 2007 allowed growth for the Sallisaw location both now and in the future.