In 1969, the community college system was established by the Nevada State Legislature. On September 19, 1971, Western Nevada Community College was formally dedicated by Governor Mike O'Callaghan as one of three community colleges in the Community College Division of the Nevada System of Higher Education. The Nevada Community College Division was comprised of Clark County, Northern Nevada (Elko), and Western Nevada Community Colleges.
In its infancy, TMCC operated under the name of Western Nevada Community College. The parent campus was located in Carson City. Stead Air Base housed a secondary campus serving predominantly the greater Reno-Sparks area. Both campuses had their own student organizations, faculty senates, and administrative organizations. In addition to Stead Air Base, space for registration and classrooms was provided by the Washoe County Schools. The first of the multi-phases of construction for a campus on Dandini Boulevard in Reno was completed in 1976. The Dandini Campus became the central hub for the staff, programs and students.
In December 1979, the Board of Regents made the decision to split Western Nevada Community College and established Truckee Meadows Community College. TMCC became the fourth community college within the Nevada System of Higher Education.
Starting in the 1980s, the student demand for courses and programs created a need for more facilities. In addition to expanding the Dandini Campus, the college established the IGT Applied Technology Center (March 1999), Meadowood Center (February 2003), the Nell J. Redfield Foundation Performing Arts Center (September 2003), the TMCC High Tech Center at Redfield (September 2005), and most recently the William N. Pennington Health Science Center at Redfield (2015).