In 1980, Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) purchased 30 acres from The Irvine Company to build a college campus in East Orange that would meet the current and future educational needs of this rapidly growing community. In the fall of 1985, the RSCCD Orange Campus began its first semester, offering a variety of general education, transfer and vocational education courses to more than 2,500 students.
By 1996, enrollment at the Orange Campus had more than doubled. In May 1996, the RSCCD Board of Trustees continued its vision to develop a separate college to serve the residents of East Orange and voted to become a multi-college district; in July 1997, the Board voted unanimously to change the name of the Orange Campus to Santiago Canyon College. In January 2000, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges awarded Santiago Canyon College full accreditation as an independent college.
In fall 2000, with the donation of an 11.9-acre parcel from The Irvine Company, the college campus grew from 52 to 64 acres. In November 2002, voters in the college district voted to approve Measure E, a $337 million bond measure to provide for renovation and new construction at both Santiago Canyon and Santa Ana colleges.
The college district used Measure E funds in April 2003 to purchase an 18.77-acre parcel (at the corner of Chapman and Jamboree) from The Irvine Company, bringing the college campus to 82 acres.
In March 2004, the college district board of trustees approved Santiago Canyon College’s revised facilities master plan. The master plan guides the placement of all new buildings, facilities, parking, and open spaces on the college campus. In September 2004, the college celebrated the opening of the student services and instruction building. In the fall of 2006, a grand opening ceremony was held for the new library.
The SCC softball complex opened on January 28, 2009. The complex features a state-of-the-art team room, enclosed and lighted batting cages, storage rooms and a top-of-the-line netting system. The facility is also among the first in Southern California to incorporate artificial field turf.
In December 2009, the SCC Women’s Soccer team won the state and national championships.
The Science Center, which was constructed using a combination of state and bond funds, opened for classes in fall 2010.