Construction began on The Garfield center on June 6, 1950. Named in honor of Mr. James R. Garfield (son of President James A. Garfield) who had been president of the Lake Erie College Board of Trustees for over forty years, the building was originally used for the nursery school, Garfield Senior College, adult education, College offices and as a location for special events.
In 1972, Lake Erie expanded the building to house a larger College elementary school. In 1990, the building was sold and became part of the independent Phillips Osborne School.
The College reacquired the building in 2008, and it is currently home to classrooms, faculty offices and the Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.