Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Saturday, September 5, 2015

old Townsend High School

The first part of the former Townsend High School was erected in 1926 and occupied in 1927.  At that time, Townsend was a "lumber town" as a result of the logging and sawmilling industry in the Great Smoky Mountains.  In 1964, the school building was described as "obsolete" by William T. Brickley in his thesis Developing a Guidance Program for Townsend High School.  The 9-12 portion of the building had 8 rooms, with 4 used for classrooms, a library, offices for the principal and the guidance director, and an auditorium.
The "grade building" was added in 1948, and included upper and lower floors, the lower
approaching basement in back where excavation has been done into the hillside. (Brickley, 1964)
That part of the school contained 12 rooms, with 9 used for classrooms, an elementary library, clothing and storage room, and a room equipped for a science laboratory.  
The newest part of the building was the gymnasium, erected in 1954.  It included a basketball court, dressing rooms, home economics room, and a science laboratory.  Enrollment in grades 7-12 in 1964 was 192.

In 1997, Darrell Spencer produced a long-range facilities planning report for Blount County schools, in which he described the school as "abandoned" and "totally unsuitable for renovation" with "windows rotted, roof bad, floors sagging" and recommended it "should be removed and site replanned/renovated for K-5 use"--that's removed as in demolition.  A reference in the report described the high school as still in use in 1969, but at some point prior to 1994, high schools were consolidated into just 2 for all of Blount County.

The City of Townsend, TN/History on its website mentions the restoration of the old high school, undertaken by the Alumni Association and the city.  The former school now serves as city offices.

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