The East Williamson County Higher Education Center (EWCHEC) is a multi-institutional teaching center providing a wide array of educational opportunities and workforce readiness programs to all of East Williamson County with two locations in Hutto and Taylor.
In 1996 Dr. Marc A. Nigliazzo, president of Temple College, along with members of the TC Board of Trustees, met with the Taylor ISD Board to discuss the need to expand TC course offerings in the local area. At the time of the meeting Temple College was offering classes at Taylor High School. The result of the meeting was the realization that the way to meet the higher education needs of the community was to establish an independent location where TC could offer classes.
As plans started to take shape, the first order of business was to secure a space for the College. A vacant HEB grocery store located on Main Street in Taylor was eventually chosen as it met the current need and offered space to grow. Through the efforts of the City of Taylor, the Taylor EDC and local businesses the space was purchased and the initial renovation to 15,000 sq. foot, about one-half of the building, began.
In 1997, the Temple College Taylor Center opened. Traditional academic classes such as math, English and history, as well as dual credit classes for high school students, were offered to students from Granger, Hutto, Taylor, Thorndale and Thrall. Eventually this group grew to include Bartlett and other surrounding school districts.
In 2003, Temple College had reached capacity in the space originally renovated in the re-purposed HEB. It was decided that the time had come to renovate the rest of the building. The expansion included new classrooms and science labs. These additions made it possible for Temple College to not only expand its course offering, but also add a VN Nursing program.
In 2006, Taylor ISD and Hutto ISD partnered to establish the first rural Early College High School (ECHS) in the State of Texas. Early college high schools blend high school and college in a rigorous yet supportive program, compressing the time it takes to complete a high school diploma and the first two years of college. Named by the inaugural class, Legacy ECHS students have truly taken on the challenge of education.
The EWCHEC concept is an outgrowth of the community partnership to fund and establish Temple College at Taylor (TCAT) in 1997. In 2006, school and community leaders began exploring the concept of a multi-institutional teaching center (MITC).
In 2007, during the 80th State Legislature, HB2074 legislation was passed creating the East Williamson County Higher Education Center (EWCHEC). Joining the lead institution, Temple College, were Texas State Technical College Waco (TSTC Waco), Texas Tech University, and Concordia University Texas.
EWCHEC received the 2008 Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) Workforce Best Practices Award.
In 2010, EWCHEC expanded its coverage to include a center in Hutto, operating out of a vacant Hutto ISD school building until a permanent location could be constructed.
In 2013, EWCHEC- Hutto opened its first building at the current 57-acre location off Toll 130 and Hwy 79 in Hutto. TSTC Waco and Temple College offered certificate and associate degree programs as well as a full array of student services including the Avery Family Library and Learning Resource Center.
In 2014, Texas A&M University—Central Texas joined in the Spring after achieving accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools earlier in the year.