Springville High School history
Part 2 of 2
As Springville grew and the need arose for additional school space, the citizens began a building frenzy, in cooperation with the newly organized Springville School District. The “Central School” in Mapleton, completed in 1899, was the first major school building erected in this period. Shortly afterwards, the Jefferson School was completed in 1902, the Lincoln School soon followed in 1903, and a few years later, the Grant School was completed, in 1906. By now the Central School was being referred to as the “Washington School”, perhaps to associate more closely with the presidential names of the three new Springville elementary schools.
As the demand for higher education grew, the community rallied behind the efforts to build a real High School, and in 1909 the original Springville High School building opened its doors, becoming the first public high school in Utah County. Just three years later, in 1912, work commenced on a new high school building, to the east of the original, which was completed in 1914. At that time Washington School became the elementary finishing school, with only the 5th and 6th grade classes being taught. The new high school building contained all of the latest features that a modern school could hope for, including an indoor swimming pool, an indoor gymnasium, a library, home economic and science rooms, and an auditorium of sufficient size to seat the entire student body.
It should be noted here that due to the success of the high school system in Springville, the Hungerford Academy suffered from a lack of enrollment which was cause for the school to close, and the beautiful building was demolished in 1912, after serving the community for only 26 years. The boys dorm was converted to a single level home on 200 South, and the girls dorm was remodeled to become Strong’s Apartments.
In 1924 the LDS Church initiated the Seminary program. As more students flooded the halls of Springville High School, it became necessary to expand the building, and the south wing was added in 1927. In 1927, the Church commenced construction of the Seminary building near the high school, which was completed in 1928. The Seventy’s Hall continued to hold Industrial Arts classes for the high school, until completion of the new Industrial Arts building in 1930. The Seventy’s Hall was then demolished, and the area was used to expand the playground area of the Washington School to the west. In 1935 the Washington School was determined to be a fire hazard, too dangerous to be used as a public school, and the doors were closed.
In 1935, during the height of the Great Depression, a ground breaking was held to herald the construction of a new Art Building for the Springville High School by the WPA. Construction, which continued through 1936, not only created desperately needed jobs for local workmen, when completed in 1937, it also created much needed classroom and art exhibition space for the high schools expanding art collection. Immediately after the Art building was completed, the WPA began another construction project just to the south of it, a new, modern gymnasium for the high school.
Simultaneously, demolition began on the old Washington School, and much needed building materials were salvaged and used in the construction of the new building, which was completed in 1939. The campus was complete.
The new gymnasium not only provided space for much needed central lunch facilities, it also provided a venue for many high school activities. Previously, high school dances and basketball games were held in the basement of the old Opera House, which closed after a fire in 1927, and also in the Memorial Hall, which was constructed on the same site and foundation, in 1932. Additionally, the new gymnasium was used by community and church groups who sponsored basketball teams, as well as boxing and wrestling exhibition matches. Even the BYU basketball teams held some of their home games, until completion of the Smith Fieldhouse on the BYU campus in 1951.
The original Springville High School building, completed in 1909.