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Pittsburg High School
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1310 N. Broadway
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PHS Grounds Plan
- newspaper photo 1920

PHS Basement Floor Plan
- newspaper photo 1920
PHS Ground Floor Plan
- newspaper photo 1920
PHS First Floor Plan
- newspaper photo 1920
PHS Second Floor Plan
- newspaper photo 1920
Pittsburg High School
-newspaper photo 1921
Pittsburg High School
- yearbook photo 1923
PHS Photos
- yearbook photo 1923
PHS Gymnasium
- yearbook photo 1924
PHS Indoor Pool
- yearbook photo 1924
PHS Auditorium
- yearbook photo 1924

PHS Cafeteria
- yearbook photo 1924

PHS Domestic Science, Dining Room & Woodworking
- yearbook photo 1924
PHS "Around the Lot"
- yearbook photo 1924
PHS Lab, Hall & Study Hall
- yearbook photo 1924
Pittsburg High School
- no postmark (c1922-1930)
Pittsburg High School
- no postmark (c1922-1930)
Pittsburg High School
- yearbook photo 1932
Pittsburg High School
- yearbook photo 1933
Pittsburg High School
- yearbook photo 1946
Pittsburg High School
- yearbook cover 1947
Pittsburg High School
- yearbook photo 1950
PHS/Roosevelt Jr. High
- yearbook photo 1950

By early 1916, as the town population grew, the Pittsburg schools quickly became overcrowded leaving some classrooms with up to 64 students per teacher. However the need for building a new high school wasn’t a priority and was seen as taking on too much debt for the school system and the city. It was a year later in the spring of 1917 that the board finally decided to have a vote taken to issue $200,000 in bonds for a new high school. It was a very contentious subject and tore the community apart. Superintendent Bender and the school board were in support of the bond issue with most parents and other citizens against it and not seeing a real need. A few days before the vote was to be held on November 6, 1917, Superintendent Bender closed the high school and the students were sent out into the city with lists of voters and asked them to mark if they were in support or not of the bond issue. This was a way for the supporters of the measure to know who to make sure was at a polling station on the day of the vote. Most of the parents of the high school students were against the bond issue and resented that they were put into such a position of marking their support or not on their student’s list that the vote was overwhelmingly defeated. The other reason it was defeated was due to the countries involvement in World War I. Citizens didn’t think that it was a wise choice to add additional debt to the city when the country was in a war. This was the only school bond issue that had ever been defeated in the history of the city up to that time.

Another 3 years would pass before the school board decided that due to overcrowding and a need for new curriculum that there needed to be a new high school built and that the old one would become a junior high housing 7th and 8th grade students. This bond issue would be for $275,000. This time the support was overwhelming with the Parent-Teacher Associations and Chamber of Commerce in support of the measure. Even businesses showed their support by encouraging citizens to vote yes in their newspaper ads. The bond issue was put to a vote on July 1, 1919 and won easily with 1,680 for and 464 against.

Plans for the new high school began almost immediately after the bond issue passed with the hiring on July 25 of William T. Schmitt, Oklahoma City, as the supervising architect and J. M. Leeper hired as the local contractor who had built Carney Hall at the college. Several sites were proposed for the new school including East 24th and Broadway, Jefferson and Olive and 8th to 9th between Elm and Joplin but the one that caused the most controversy was 20 acre site on the north edge of Lincoln Park from 9th and Olive to the edge of the park. Even though the citizens had agreed that the school board should have the final say on any location, having the school near Lincoln Park almost caused a mutiny. The school board meetings in September of 1919 were feisty with residents demanding a special election for selection of a site and a fiery four-hour meeting where the board was denounced for choosing the location. The main concern wasn’t having the school part of the Lincoln Park but that it was at the edge of town, away from the central core of the city and the area didn’t have a trolley line to it.

By October 1920, after much discussion, the school board decided to upon a 10.8-acre site bounded by 12th and 14th Streets on the north and south and North Broadway and Elm east to west. The land cost $64,805.52. This was more than the board originally planned spending for a school site but they felt it was worth it since it had plenty of room for expansion and the ability for an addition or a junior high building in the future. The board went back to the citizens asking for another $150,000 bond issue, which passed and the board went to business purchasing the 60 residences on the new school site and preparing it for construction of the new high school. The total cost for the new high school including land would eventually top out at $450,000. The cornerstone was laid on October 27, 1919 to an audience of 4000 citizens and students. To commemorate the day, a copper box measuring six by eight inches was sealed in the cornerstone with an assortment of items from the time period, sort of a time capsule for the future. It included the following:

1. Program of the corner stone laying
2. The Booster from October 26, 1920
3. The Purple and White for 1919
4. The Daily Sun of October 27, 1920
5. The Daily Headlight of October 26, 1920
6. Printed folder containing facts about the new high school
7. The high school Roll of Honor
8. Printed course of study of the high school
9. The annual report of the board for 1915-16
10. The biennial report for 1916-17 and 1917-18
11. The abstract showing the purchase of the new high school site
12. A pamphlet showing the Red Cross and war activities of the schools
13. School directory for 1920
14. The minutes of the board from June 2, 1919 and July 4, 1919
15. Coins from the time period
16. Roster of the local Masonic Lodge with names of members and officers
17. A small Bible

The Building and Floor Plans

The new school, which was designed to hold 750 students, would be four stories tall built in the academic gothic style with locally made Nesch dark violet velvet brick trimmed with white Carthage stone supplied by the Pittsburg Marble Works. It was set back off Broadway to allow a sloping terrace and ample green space for the front of the building. The monumental tower structure on the front with its grand staircase reminded one of an academic building at a top colleges or university. The weight of the 164’ x 144’ structure is setting on 152 massive 9’ and 6’ square concrete pillars with another 132 11” square concrete pillars included in the first two stories. There are massive concrete and steel beams between these pillars with one that spans the front of the stage that weighs 36 tons in concrete alone. The outer brick walls are curtain walls and don’t hold any weight of the building. This building was definitely built to last for a long time.

The basement included a 40’ x 70’ gymnasium that extended through the first ground floor, a 21’x 60’ swimming pool, kitchen, laundry, boys and girls shower facilities and bathroom and the mechanical rooms for the building.

The ground floor, which could be entered through doors under the main entrance stairs or on the north and south sides of the building, was divided into a 50’ x 60’ cafeteria and kitchen and classrooms for both the girls’ domestic science and domestic art and the boys manual work which included printing, woodwork, painting, metal turning, forging and foundry. The floor also included 2 balconies for the gymnasium.

The first floor, which was entered at the top of the grand front staircase, included an 800-seat auditorium with a 400-seat balcony and a 32’ x 40’ stage with three dressing rooms. This floor also included the principal’s office, rest rooms and classrooms for recitation, typewriting, bookkeeping, shorthand, banking and mechanical drawing. 600 lockers were built into the walls of the 9’ to 10’ wide corridors.

On the second floor were the auditorium balcony, study hall, 15 classrooms, the library and laboratories for physics, chemistry and biology.

The new high school officially opened on September 30, 1921 with the first graduation in May of 1922. With the new high school built, the old high school became a junior high school for seventh and eighth graders. In 1939 an addition was added to the high school for the new Roosevelt Junior High School and the old building between 8th and 9th on Broadway was torn down. In 1979 a new high school was built at 1978 East Fourth for 9th – 12th grades and Roosevelt Junior High and Lakeside Junior High were closed and consolidated in the old high school on Broadway as the Pittsburg Middle School for 6th – 8th grades. In 2003 a large addition was built onto the east end of the building to allow for more classrooms.

"New H.S. Would Cost $150,000," Pittsburg Daily Headlight [Pittsburg Kansas] 22 June 1916: Newspapers.com. Web
"Bender Told of Need of Funds by Board," Pittsburg Daily Headlight [Pittsburg Kansas] 25 Oct 1916: Newspapers.com. Web
"Pupils are Sent Out to Work for Bonds," Pittsburg Daily Headlight [Pittsburg Kansas] 3 Nov 1917: Newspapers.com. Web

"The War and Bender," Pittsburg Daily Headlight [Pittsburg Kansas] 7 Nov 1917: Newspapers.com. Web
"Ask Election for New School House," The Sun [Pittsburg Kansas] 3 June 1919: Newspapers.com. Web
"High School Bond Election to Voters Today," The Sun [Pittsburg Kansas] 1 July 1919: Newspapers.com. Web
"Bonds Won Easy Victory," Pittsburg Daily Headlight [Pittsburg Kansas] 2 July 1919: Newspapers.com. Web
"Demand Special Election to Name School Location," The Sun [Pittsburg Kansas] 16 Sept 1919: Newspapers.com. Web
"Violent Denunciation of West Ninth Street Site," The Sun [Pittsburg Kansas] 23 Sept 1919: Newspapers.com. Web
"Soon Complete Options," The Sun [Pittsburg Kansas] 14 Oct 1919: Newspapers.com. Web
"Description of Proposed High School," The Sun [Pittsburg Kansas] 21 Dec 1919: Newspapers.com. Web
"Board Issues an Appeal to Voters," The Sun [Pittsburg Kansas] 27 Oct 1920: Newspapers.com. Web
"Copper Box for High School Corner Stone will be Filled with Assortment of Curios," The Sun [Pittsburg Kansas] 27 Oct 1920: Newspapers.com. Web
Floor plan images for new High School, The Sun [Pittsburg Kansas] 31 Oct 1920: Newspapers.com. Web
"Pittsburg's New High School," Pittsburg Daily Headlight [Pittsburg Kansas] 18 May 1921: Newspapers.com. Web
McNally, Edward T. "Two-Room School Evolved into Complex System." Pittsburg Almanac, 1876-1976. 1976: 43-44. Print

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