Goodland High: New Deal to 21st Century

 

Goodland High

Goodland Junior-Senior High

A new school in a hard time

Goodland High School’s current building was constructed in 1937, in the middle of the Great Depression, by the Public Works Administration (PWA), a New Deal project that employed people on public works projects. PWA was employing 493 men in Sherman County while the high school was under construction, most of them on the high school and Smoky River Bridge. Some were employed on the Voltaire Township Bridge.

Joseph W. Radotinsky was architect. Lundgren & Carlson were the general contractors for a bid of $211,072. They were the same contractors who built Goodland’s post office. The school board had hoped to retain the old building while the new one was under construction. Contractors wanted to tear down old school building. They said cost savings would be substantial. Board approved their bid Jan. 16, 1937.

The old building came down in the spring of 1937. Classes were held all over town while the new school was under construction.

Most of the laborers worked for as little as 35 cents an hour. In April 1937, they decided to strike for 10 cents an hour more, to 45 cents. They agreed to wait two weeks before striking in order to give J.A. Lundgren time to negotiate. Lundgren came back with a five-cent an hour raise, to 40 cents, and the workers agreed.

Goodland gets a Christmas present

Christmas vacation began early, Dec. 10, 1937. During vacation, the high school teachers moved into their new building. The new building opened Dec. 28. The Goodland News-Republic reported Jan. 5, 1938, that the “exterior of the building follows the modern ‘streamline’ design. The interior is beautifully finished with floors of asphaltic tile and floors finished in glazed tile wainscoting.”

Governor lays on thick praise

Gov. Walter Huxman and State Superintendent of Schools W.T. Markham came for the dedication Jan. 6, 1938. School lasted half a day, with the rest reserved for an open house and dedication. Sherman County Community High Glee Club and Band provided music and the band played on Main Street. Band showed off their new uniforms provided by American Legion.

The high school auditorium was packed for the dedication. An overflow crowd listened via the school’s new public address system. Over 1,250 people attended. Huxman said the state had more costly school buildings, but none of them “were better suited to the needs here, GNR said. He recounted some of Western Kansas’ difficulties. But despite the difficulties, the area has a “wonderful country and people” who have “many blessings and benefits for which to be thankful.”

GNR‘s editor was not buying what the governor was selling. In a small article in the next edition, he wrote that the governor was so greatly impressed with Goodland and Western Kansas that he would likely “proposition the Legislature to move from Topeka to Goodland.” Editor said the governor had “spread the salve so thick” that he could not be “taken at face value.” While Goodland citizens are proud of their community, “we can swallow only a reasonable amount of undeserved praise without laughing.”

Goodland High received a new addition (PDF) in 1957 and an elevator in 1997. Science wing was remodeled in 2001.The building received new windows in the 2012-13 school year.

In 2013, local school district USD 352-Goodland’s voters passed a $14.1 million (PDF) bond issue. Part of the bond issue, $8.7 million, was earmarked to remodel GHS.

Goodland High in transition

Like their predecessors, Goodland students spent the 2014-15 school year taking classes in buildings all over Goodland. District buses transfered students to classes at Central Elementary, Grant Junior High, Max Jones Fieldhouse and the Tech Building. Elementary students had been consolidated into remodeled North and West Elementaries, leaving Central available for high school classes.

Goodland Junior-Senior High ribbon cuttingribbon cutting

Goodland Ambassadors Linda Rumpel (front left) and Dale Schields (front right) hold the ribbon while House and Board of Education Vice President Jessica Cole cut it.

A shiny remodel opens

Aug. 20, 2015, was the first day of school in the remodeled building. USD 352 held a ribbon cutting and open house Aug. 23, 2015. Grant Junior High and its Mustangs are no longer. All junior high and high school students will now attend school in the same building. All USD 352 sports teams are now Cowboys and Cowgirls. Central has become Goodland Community Learning Center.

GJSH entrance

GJSH entrance

Channeling Pacman

While not as ornate a version of Art Deco as the United Telephone Building or the Sherman County Courthouse, the building has some Art Deco details, especially along the roof line, around the entrance (above), on and in the auditorium.

72 GHS Pacmen

At the time of its construction, GHS was known as Sherman Community High School. The Art Deco font in the sign above the entrance uses two C’s that looks like the future Pacman. So does the G, to a lesser extent. However, nothing on the sign or elsewhere on the building anticipates the ghosts that Pacman eats.

“Rural Free Delivery”, the post office mural, was hung about the time the old high school was demolished.

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