History of CHS

  • Central 1867 - Springfield took its first step toward free education. The first step in the free school line was to rent a building, a high school with 68 students and a primary school with 204 students. A Board of Education composed of some of the best businessmen was elected.


    1871 - The Board issued twenty thousand 10% bonds to fund a new school building. They purchased a lot near the public square (northwest corner of Jefferson and Olive) and erected a fine twelve-room building.


    1872 - The first class graduated. It had two members.


    1893 - Grover Cleveland was President; businesses and the population of Springfield were growing rapidly. Construction began on Springfield Senior High. The 3+ acres upon which the school sits cost the city $15,000. The building cost $60,000 including equipment; the total cost for the school came to a little over $100,000. The school's western section was located on the northeast corner of Central and Jefferson. High school classes were moved from the old school at Jefferson and Olive to the new building.


    1894, January 6 - Springfield Senior High was dedicated on this day. The four-story building contained forty-four classrooms and an auditorium. There were seventy-six students, and the first graduation class consisted of two students.


    1906 - Construction began on the second section of the Senior High School.


    1907 - Eleven rooms were added to what is now the center section of the main building.


    1914 - Construction begins on the third section of Senior High School. Twenty rooms and a gymnasium were added. That addition was the east wing of the original building. A heating plant was built    behind the main building.


    1916 - The six-room manual training building is completed. Sometime after May of this year, the bell tower was removed.


    1927 - The "Scotch Lassies" were formed as the first all female drum & bugle corp.


    1930 - The Board bought a new gymnasium site. Work began on an extensive remodeling of the old gym into science labs.


    1931, March 10 - Student dedication was held. This was the first time the entire student body was present at a single assembly period.


    1931, March 11 - Dedication of the "finest gymnasium in the state" with a packed house of 2100 people to see the first game. The "Pit" was host to the State Basketball Championship in 1939.


    1936 - Senior High Stadium is built. The name was later changed to Harrison Stadium.


    1937 - The Fine Arts Building is built.


    1939 - Construction begins on the Industrial Arts Building, a new auditorium, and cafeteria.


    1939 - R. Ritchie Robertson passed away, resulting in the Scotch Lassies being renamed "The Kilties".


    1940 - Dedication of the Industrial Arts Building, auditorium, and cafeteria.


    1955 - Senior High School is integrated beginning with the fall semester. Homer Kesterson was the Principal from 1952 - 1957. Prior to this, all black students attended Lincoln High School, which was located where Ozarks Technical Community College is currently.


    1956 - Senior High School was renamed Central High School after the District built more high schools.


    1961 - Linda Brown graduates with the class of 1961.


    1983 - Construction was completed on a new physical education building/wrestling facility. Gymnasium and main building improvements were completed.


    1994 - Central receives its A+ Schools grant. In the fall of 1997, the Missouri State Board of Education designated Central as a Missouri A+ school. The A+ Schools program is a school-improvement initiative established by the Outstanding Schools Act of 1993. The program raises academic standards, opens new doors to higher education, and introduces students to the teaching profession though tutoring and mentoring activities.


    1996 - Central becomes the fourth school in Missouri to sponsor the International Baccalaureate degree program. As a result, student enrollment goes up after years of decline.


    2000, April - Voters approve a major bond issue for the Springfield School District. The resulting funds allow the first complete renovation of the 19th Century buildings and major additions -- thoughts of demolishing Central are forgotten. When construction was completed in 2002, Central High School once again became Springfield's showcase school--melding the past with the present and beyond.