Using insurance money and loans, a new $75,000 two-story brick school was dedicated in the fall of 1926. It served the students of Grain Valley for 78 years. There were 5 classrooms, the stage/sometimes band room/sometimes classroom, an office and rest rooms on the main floor.
Upstairs there were 6 classrooms, an office and a large multi-purpose room that served many purposes over the years. During my years in school, I remember a variety of events which took place in the space. The annual carnival talent show and cake walk, prom dinners, study hall, the high school library, the vocal music room and a lunch room were only some of the classes and activities which took place in the room. As I think about that “big room” today, I realize it probably wasn’t much large than the average classroom in today’s schools.
Down about 6 or 8 steps was from the main floor was the gymnasium. The stage was open to the gym on the east side and the balcony, accessible from the stairways, both added to the seating capacity which was probably less than 200 with standing room only.
The first elementary building was added in 1954, allowing the high school curriculum to expand. Seventh and eighth grade students had classrooms on the main level, but the Home Economics classes and the shop classes were moved downstairs and lab space was added.
Upstairs, the business classes were able to have two rooms, one for typing and one for shorthand, accounting and secretarial practice and finally a laboratory was added for biology, chemistry and physics.
High school students walked across the parking lot to enjoy a “hot lunch” in the new cafeteria. The high school enrollment in 1964 was 143 students. They were the first class to move into the elementary building and the last class to play basketball in the gymnasium.
A gymnasium, stage, and dressing rooms were completed and ready for basketball games, physical education classes, band and vocal music classes and concerts, and school plays for the 1964-65 school year. The old gym served as the high school industrial arts classroom allowing for more equipment and larger shop classes.
That same year 10 acres across the street from the 712 Main buildings were condemned and purchased from the Armstrong Family for $20,000. The house on the property was used for the kindergarten classes and later as the Administrative offices and a transportation center. The back of the property became the original Mood Murry Memorial Football Stadium.
In 1969 patrons approved s $260,000 bond issue to construct the first phase of a new high school at the 712 Main location. Phase II was a $150,000 bond issue approved in 1974.
In November 1988, patrons approved a $1,400,000 bond issue allowed for the purchase of land and the first phase of construction on the present high school at 551 West AA Highway, now Eagles’ Parkway.
The building housed grades 4, 5 and 6 until it could be completed for the high school. In August 1991, voters approved a $ 900,000 bond for Phase II and grades 7 and 8 were moved into the building.
In August 1994, voters approved a $1,275,000, and Phase III was completed, allowing the high school campus to be moved to Eagles’ Parkway and the middle school was moved to the old high school campus.
This phase included a gymnasium and a 700 seat Auditorium and Theatre. The football stadium was also moved to this location and eventually, track, baseball, softball and tennis facilities were added.
Several additions and renovations have been made to the senior high, including the one in progress. This fall, the next fine arts wing will be ready for classes.
From that first graduation class with only 4 students to over 300 graduates this year, GVHS enjoys a long and storied past.
The Grain Valley Historical Society Museum is located at 510 Main Street.
Visit the Historical Society’s website, www.grainvalleyhistory.com, and follow the Society on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@grainvalleyhistory).
A two-story brick building, dedicated in fall 1926, served students for 78 years. Voters approved a bond in 1994 to build the current high school campus on Eagles Parkway. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society