Mission & History


Indian Hills Community College changes lives by inspiring learning, diversity, social enrichment, and regional economic advancement.


Indian Hills Community College is committed to excellence, success, service, integrity, community, innovation, diversity, and inclusion.


What is now known as Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) was established as Merged Area XV by the Iowa Board of Public Instruction on June 3, 1966. The college began operations on July 1, 1966, at the Ottumwa Regional Airport under the governance of a nine-member board of trustees. Then known as Iowa Tech-Area XV Community College, the college conducted technical programs that included those formerly operated by the Ottumwa Community School District. The newly-renovated North Campus (formerly known as the “Airport Campus”) is where the college’s Aviation Maintenance Technology, Aviation Pilot Training, Welding Technology, Commercial Driver Training, Automotive Collision Technology, and Diesel Technology programs are taught. The campus covers 215 acres and is located seven miles northwest of Ottumwa.

Centerville Campus:

On July 1, 1968, the Merged Area Board assumed responsibilities for operations of Centerville Junior College, which had been established by the Centerville Community School Board in 1930.

The Centerville Campus was completed in 1970 on a 72-acre site in the northwest part of the community. Offerings include Arts and Sciences courses and several Advanced Technology programs, including Construction Technology and Sustainable Agriculture & Entrepreneurship, and the Health Sciences: Practical Nursing program is also available at the Centerville Campus.

Indian Hills Community College:

Merged Area XV Community College adopted the name “Indian Hills Community College” in 1970. Dr. Mel Everingham, who was named president of Merged Area XV Community College two years before, stayed on as the first president of Indian Hills Community College. A historical pavilion, containing photographs and other memorabilia and named for Dr. Everingham, was added in the Advanced Technology Center in 2004.

Dr. Lyle Hellyer became the college’s president in 1973 and would remain in that position until his retirement in 2001. Dr. Jim Lindenmayer became the college’s third president following Dr. Hellyer’s retirement. In 2013, Dr. Marlene Sprouse became the fourth president of Indian Hills Community College.

Ottumwa Heights:

The boards of Indian Hills Community College and Ottumwa Heights College merged operations on July 1, 1979. Ottumwa Heights was a private college operated by the Sisters of Humility of Mary. Its roots can be traced back to the 1860s, when the Visitation Academy was established in Ottumwa. The St. Joseph Academy was founded in 1925, and its name was changed to Ottumwa Heights College five years later.

The Ottumwa Heights College campus was situated on 126 acres and was purchased by the Indian Hills Community College Board of Trustees in 1981, becoming the IHCC Ottumwa Campus. The original building is used for administrative offices, the library, an art gallery, an auditorium, dormitory space, and arts and sciences and some technical education classes. The library and art gallery were completed in the former chapel in 1984.

Ottumwa Campus Development:

A number of facilities have since been constructed on the Ottumwa Campus, which now serves as the college's main campus. The Hellyer Student Life Center and Efner Academic Hall opened in October of 1985, the first of the new buildings added to the former Ottumwa Heights facilities. The Hellyer Center provides excellent recreational facilities for Indian Hills and the Ottumwa community.

The Advanced Technology Center was completed in the fall of 1990. The 125,000-square-foot building houses the college’s many technical programs.

A new dormitory, Trustee Hall, opened in the summer of 1992. The Early Childhood Development and Day Care Center was completed two years later to provide quality child care services. The building is also a teaching site for students enrolled in the Indian Hills Community College child development programs.

As the college continued to expand, a Video Conferencing and Training Center opened in 1996. It provides interactive fiber-optic connectivity to all points on the Iowa Communications Network (ICN), government agencies in Kansas City and Washington, D.C., and to Indian Hills’ eight county service centers. The building was renamed the Rosenman Video Conference Training Center, for Indian Hills Community College benefactors Eli and Bea Rosenman, in 2005.

The Tom Arnold Net Center, built in 1997, is the home of the Indian Hills volleyball team and provides year-round recreation to residents of Ottumwa and the surrounding area.

In the winter of 2002, Indian Hills began a project to update and renovate the Keokuk/Mahaska, Wapello, and Appanoose residence halls. The reconstruction project was completed in 2004. IHCC students now have a variety of on-campus housing options ranging from a one-person room to a three-, four-, or five-person suite. The other residence halls on campus, Oak Hall and Trustee Hall, offer a more traditional atmosphere with two students per room. A new residence hall opened in 2000 on the IHCC Centerville Campus, giving that campus its first on-campus student housing unit.

The Bennett Student Services Center was renovated in 2001. The building, which was constructed as the Economic Development Center and later became the Bennett Regional Training Center, provides a kind of “one-stop shopping” experience for Indian Hills students. Offices for admissions and recruiting, academic advising and counseling services, student services, the Registrar, veterans services, financial aid, and the college bookstore are all located under one roof at the Bennett Center.

The Rural Health Education Center opened in May of 2007 on the Ottumwa Campus as a classroom and laboratory building for the college’s health programs as well as a conference and meeting facility for area health care organizations.

Indian Hills Community College has grown to meet the changing needs of the residents in the 10-county area the college serves. The college staff members, administration, and board of trustees are committed to providing high quality educational opportunities through the Indian Hills programs and facilities.