Happy 100th birthday, Center Schools

Elementary students gather outside the old Center School building for a safety demonstration in 2009. 

CENTER— Center Schools will celebrate its 100th anniversary Oct. 19-20 and hopes that current students and their families as well as Center school staffers and graduates from the past will join them to celebrate the school’s centennial.
Events will take place in the Center Commons area. Limited anniversary Center T-shirts will be on sale.
A carnival will be held at the elementary school from 4-6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 followed by group pictures Friday from 6-6:30 p.m. and a Fun Run Benefit Saturday, Oct. 20.
Elementary students will pay $5 to play all games and win prizes at the carnival and free hot dogs and chips will be served. Concessions will also be available. A camera drone will take pictures in front of the new school of all current and former Center Schools students and all current and former Center Schools staff.
A home football game will be played against the Monte Vista Pirates Friday at 7 p.m. Friday has been designated as parent recognition night.
The district will pay the $20 registration fee and provide free anniversary T-shirts (at the end of the race) for the first 50 who register who are current middle or high school students or past CHS graduates. Students must have a parent’s permission to register and run.
For more information, contact Center Administration at 719-754-3442.

Center Schools facilities history
In 1901, the Noffsinger, Gibson, La Garita, Will Lewis, Dunn Lane, Central and Sutley schoolhouses were consolidated into a one-story brick schoolhouse in the town of Center.
By 1904, it was necessary to erect a two-story schoolhouse. It is believed this structure was located where the gazebo currently stands on Worth Street.
Another consolidation of various districts in 1918 (the most recent consolidation) created the need for a larger school building and this was completed in 1919 at a cost of $95,000.  This building served as the grade 1-12 school until 1950, the grade 1-8 school until 1960, the grade K-6 school until 1996, then the grade K-5 school until 2012.  It was named Haskin Elementary School in honor of longtime Center physician Dr. John Haskin.
In 1929 an adobe bus garage and an adobe vocational facility were added to the campus.  
Construction of a new high school building was pursued in 1948 under the direction of Superintendent of Schools Harvey Skoglund and completed in 1950. At the same time the cafeteria/gymnasium attached to the former K-12 school was expanded. This new facility served as Center High School from 1950 until 2012.  
Expansion of the high school to include a junior high facility and new cafeteria was pursued in 1959 and completed in 1960. This school served grades seven and eight from 1960 through 1995. It served grades six through eight from 1996 to 2012. The school was eventually named Skoglund Middle School in honor of former Superintendent of Schools Harvey Skoglund.
In the early 1970s the original 1919 school building was completely gutted and remodeled. Air circulation units were added to the building, lowering classroom ceilings and causing the need for smaller windows to be installed.    
During the 1980s a new vocational building was built and the 1919 auditorium/multi-purpose room was gutted and turned into a library and several classrooms.
A new varsity gymnasium was built in 1990 on the site where the original 1929 vocational building had been located.
In 1997 the middle/high library was expanded and named after recently retired district librarian Mary Lou Fyock.  
A new six-classroom high school wing was added in 2000 to replace various portable buildings that were serving as middle/high classrooms at the time.
An alternative high school was established in the district in 2002, and a new facility dedicated to this effort was erected at the corner of 4th street and Sylvester in the winter of 2004. At the same time an elevator was installed in the 1919 building and space was taken out of the gymnasium to construct an elementary computer lab.
In 2006 and 2007 a new transportation garage was erected south of Highway 112 allowing for the old adobe bus garage to be converted into an administrative office/auditorium complex.
The community came together in 2008 to build a dedicated wrestling room/concession stand/pee wee sports facility for the school district.
During the spring of 2010 the district created a facilities master plan that led to the award of a Building Excellent Schools Today (Best) grant.  A bond election was held in November 2010 and upon passage the district embarked on building an entirely new complex.
This included new PK-12 facility, a new auxiliary gym, a new varsity gym, remodeling and upgrading the 1980s vocational building, remodeling and converting the 2000 high school wing into an alternative/virtual school and adult education center, while incorporating the 2008 wrestling room into the project by converting the concession/pee wee facility into athletic locker rooms.   
This project required the demolition of the 1919, 1950 and 1960 school buildings as well as the 1990 gymnasium. But for those who attended the older schools, the school they remembered and loved will always live on in their hearts.

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