J. F. DRAKE STATE TECHNICAL COLLEGE
Drake State Technical College was established in 1961 as the Huntsville State Vocational Technical College. The college is built on 32 acres of land which was deeded by Alabama A&M University to the Alabama State Board of Education. Initial enrollment at the school was 27, with students enrolled in four programs in September 1962. In 1966 the school’s name was changed to J. F. Drake State Technical Trade School by the State Board of Education in honor of the late Joseph Fanning Drake, president of Alabama A&M University for more than 35 years.
In 1967, the institution became the state's first desegregated postsecondary technical school. In 1971, the school became an accredited charter member institution of the Commission on Occupational Education Institutions (COEI) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; and in August 1973, was given technical college status by the State Board of Education. With the new status, the school was named J. F. Drake State Technical College and was authorized by the Board to offer the Associate in Applied Technology Degree. Today Drake State Technical College is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE), the national accrediting agency that evolved from the regional COEI.
In the spring of 2010, Drake State began offering classes in the historic Times Building in downtown Huntsville. Creating the additional classroom space has been an extraordinary collaborative effort with area government officials and various downtown revitalization groups. The space consists of approximately 10,000 square and has been complete renovated to accommodate seven state of the art classrooms in the historic building.
Drake State Technical College has only had three presidents: Mr. S. C. O’Neal, 1962-1983; Dr. Johnny L. Harris, 1983-2000; and Dr. Helen T. McAlpine since 2000.
Today, the two year college trains students for current and future employment in technical, industrial and vocational careers. Classes for degree and certificate programs are offered on weekdays, Saturdays and evenings on the main campus at 3421 Meridian Street as well as the downtown instructional site.