Perry Public SchoolsThe Perry’s public schools of today can be accessed through the menu at top or by clicking the links the right.
Glimpses of Perry’s School HistoryEven before Perry’s mayor, John N. Brogan, appointed the first city school board, subscription schools were popping up across the city. By November, 1893, a movement was on foot to build a temporary school house. Funds were donated for a two-room frame structure to be located at the corner of E street and 9th. Ladies of the community baked pies and organized a festival to raise money for at least some of the furnishings. The new schoolhouse had a grand dedication in December of 1893 and was opened for classes January 1, 1894. Of course, this 24 x 60 structure did not begin to accommodate all of the children enrolled for school and buildings across the city were rented to hold classes.
1895 High School, renamed Old Central when new facilities were constructed in 1912
1912 High School and Jr. High in NW Perry
1924 High School located at 9th & Elm
1927-28 Gymnasium and Auditorium addition to the north side of the 1924 High School
Band room and Manual Arts building constructed in 1937 and 1939
Elementary school built in 1941-42
In 1896 the Blaine building was set aside as a separate school for the black students and Holmes was leased to the Congregational Church for the opening of an Academy.
Overcrowding was a problem and by 1912 plans were underway to build a new High School. It was constructed on the school reserve in northwest Perry between 12th and 13th streets in the block between I and J streets. Students in grades 7 – 12 began school there for the 1912-13 school term. To eliminate confusion the old high school was officially renamed “Central School of the City of Perry.”
The site of the high school built in 1912 became a campus with the construction of a Junior High School building and a manual training building.
By 1923 enrollment in the Perry Public Schools was at an all-time high at 860 students and the construction of a new high school was under consideration. The amount of bonded indebtedness allowed by law steered the Board toward the implementation of the phased building plan. A bond issue of $87,000 in May provided funds for the construction of a new high school at the location of the old Central School, 9th & Elm. The new high school was on the site now occupied by the school auditorium and Old Central is barely visible in this photograph to the north of the High School. The cornerstone laying ceremony under the direction of the Masonic Lodge was held on January 7, 1924.
According to the phased building plan, in about 1927-28 Old Central was demolished to make wasy for a $47,000 auditorium and gymnasium that were added to the north side of the high school building.
In 1937 the public school system was in serious need of a building program, but the two previous bond issues were not yet paid off and, because of the Depression, the valuation of the district had dropped drastically. These circumstance would allow for only a small bond issue. However, with the help of government funds made available through the W.P.A. and small bond issue, several major building projects were completed; the Manual Arts building in 1937, the Band building in 1939.
An Elementary school was built on the site of the 1912 High School in 1941-42. A catastrophic fire destroyed most of it during the summer of 1967 however the southwest corner still remains. After the fire other buildings were added to the elementary campus.
During the late 1950s our present Jr. High was constructed on Elm street and in 1965 construction began on our present high school. In 1972 the 1924 high school was razed and our auditorium was built. In more recent times two other major contruction projects were undertaken to construct both the Upper and Lower Elementary schools.
Our city founders could look with satisfaction and pride at what has been accomplished in the continuation of their work to provide a quality education for the children of Perry School District No. 52.