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The story of the "old" wing of the high school

When opened, it attached to the original Bluffton HS building built in 1911

Depending upon when you attended Bluffton High School, the building on the corner of Main and College is either the “old” section or the “new” section. The dividing line between old and new falls in the mid-1980s.

In the 1980s, a building constructed in 1911 was razed and a new addition was built in its place. That new addition connects to another addition, constructed in 1933.

And, for decades and decades, we’ve never given much thought to what the 1933 addition meant to the community.

Here’s a description of that addition, from the dedication of the “new Bluffton-Richland High School” held the week of Nov 6-12, 1933.

If you can transport yourself to 88 school years past, you might gain appreciation to what the community experienced in 1933 when its new high school was opened.

Here goes: The present Bluffton-Richland High School occupies a lot with a 152 foot frontage on South Main Street, 162 foot frontage on South Jackson Street and 346.5 feet on West College Avenue.

The new addition is of fireproof construction and contains features that make the school one of the most modern in the state.

The library on the first floor is planned to meet not only the needs of the school, but for the use of the school district and community.

It is a complete unit in itself. On entering the library vestibule, one is ushed into the room containing the librarian’s charging desk.

Off from this and directly to the front of the desk is the newspaper and magazine alcove, while the reading room opens off to the left, and the stack room to the rear of the librarian’s charging desk.

Also opening off from the library to the librarian’s right is the library study hall seating 80 students.

This arrangement is one of the newer features in school design, is unique in itself and quite practicable in that it permits free access of pupils to the reading room, yet always under the supervision of the librarian, while at the same time permitting the general public to use the library freely without interfering with the work of the school.

Both the reading room and the library-study have built in shelving of beautiful oak, adequate for library service of five thousand volumes each.

The two science rooms furnish adequate laboratory facilities for general science, biology, chemistry and physics.

Each room has built-in cabinets for the proper storage of laboratory apparatus and supplies.

These cabinets are all likewise finished in oak to match the trim of the building.

The general­­­­­­­ shop provides the opportunity for boys to find themselves by doing exploratory work in sheet-metal, auto mechanics, woodworking, electrical work, blueprint making, etc. Provisions have been made for the installation of printing as soon as possible.

Adjacent to the general shop is the farm shop, where opportunity is given for shop projects growing out of the work of the farm and as carried out under the provision of the Smith-Hughes Vocational Agriculture department. The recitation and laboratory room for this department is located adjacent to the farm shop.

On the first floor underneath the gymnasium are the locker rooms, showers, team and visiting team rooms, for both boys and girls.

These features together with the gymnasium on the floor above provide adequate facilities for a wholesome program of health and physical education, intra-mural and inter-scholastic athletes.

However, the gymnasium serves for more than physical education purposes for it is provided with a stage and chairs, which make it an admirable auditorium with a seating capacity of approximately 1,400 people and provides adequate space for community gatherings.

Adjacent to the gymnasium is the service kitchen and serving room, making possible social functions for the community.

Next the serving room is the cafeteria equipped with tables and chairs to accommodate at one time 80 to 90 people. This provides a splendid place for serving warm lunches to students, or refreshments to smaller school and community functions.

However, not only does this cafeteria serve as a lunch room, used only occasionally, or for one hour during the noon period.

Simply by closing the doors to the serving room, the cafeteria immediately becomes available for an additional study hall or home room.

Thus it renders not only a community purpose but an economical arrangement for better school room utilization.

The home economics unit on the third floor consisting of seven unit kitchens providing space for four girls each provides a cooking laboratory facility for a class of 28 girls. Each unit is equipped with a kitchen cabinet, sink, table and stove, each accessible with the fewest steps possible.

Adjacent to the cooking laboratory is the sewing room equipped with 14 birth top sewing tables, sewing machines fitting platform and triple plate mirror. Fitting room, storage space and cabinets for display of articles are provided also.

The Bluffton-Richland High School building is now one of the most modern and efficient buildings of secondary school purposed found anywhere and has incorporated in it much of what is modern, but providen innovations in school construction.

And, now it's part of forgotten Bluffton.


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