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School History

The Morgan County Court established a Wartburg High School in 1879. On June 30, 1898, an academy was formed in Wartburg. Students paid tuition to attend. Mr. J.M. Davis served as the first president.
A Morgan County High School was established on July 3, 1911, in the Odd Fellows Hall in Wartburg. It was a Class III high school offering three years of classes. The faculty was composed of one man and two women.
In 1915, a high school was established in Sunbright. As a result, the Morgan County High School name was changed to Central High School. Central became a Class II school at that time.
In 1918-1919, Central High was approved as the only Class I high school of the five which existed in Morgan County. The school offered four years of instruction. The school was housed in a white frame building. A 1919 school bulletin contained the following description of the first county high school building:
The high school building is a 60 by 70 structure. Four rooms are furnished with modern desks and good blackboards. The auditorium is seated with 300 chairs and well lighted with hanging lamps. The music and the home economics departments are strong features of the school. The music room has a good piano, music cabinets, etc. The domestic arts room is furnished with sewing machines and other equipment. The domestic science room has splendid equipment for cooking and ironing. The manual training room contains a number of carpenters’ tools, and we hope to soon make this department one of the interesting features of the school. We have a library of two hundred volumes to which we hope to add year to year. The campus consists of six acres of level land where baseball, basketball, croquet, and other games are enjoyed. We are planning to use part of the land for experimental work in agriculture. A concrete walk leads from the building to the pike.
In 1923, a brick building was constructed. More rooms were provided for the high school. These included a science laboratory, separate rooms for cooking and sewing, a special room for study hall, and a gymnasium for the basketball games.
The Central High School building was destroyed by fire in January 1941. The school board sent all students living north of the school road to Sunbright and those south to Oakdale. This practice continued until the 1945-1946 term, when a new building was opened. It consisted of two wings, connected by a gymnasium. The student body chose purple and gold as their school colors. When Gene Buxton became coach, the school colors were changed to blue and white, and the English Bulldog became the mascot.
High school classes were held once again in the “old elementary school” building for two years while the high school building on Highway 62 was razed and a new facility was built. In August 1990, the faculty, staff, and student body moved into a modern facility on Highway 62. The original high school building (or “old elementary school” ) was destroyed in 1993 and is now the site of Rite-Aid Pharmacy.
Central High's campus was expanded in May 1998 when Wayne and Margaret Solomon donated 29 acres on Byrd Mountain to the school. This acreage joins the northern border of the original campus and is being developed into a environmental lab area for use by students throughout Morgan County. In 1997 a Goals 2000 grant was obtained by the school. Funds from this grant helped to develop a pond, nature trails, and amphitheater on the undeveloped northern edge of the campus.
During Fall 2001, the Morgan County School Board gave permission for the Cumberland Trail Conference to bring the Cumberland Trail across a portion of the Central High campus. The trails of the outdoor classroom are being connected to the Cumberland Trail. Community volunteers including students and staff are assisting with the construction of the trail, which will be a tremendous asset to our school and community.
In June 2002, a new six-classroom addition was completed on the west wing of the school. This addition provides space for social studies, wellness, driver training, an alternative classroom, and a science lab. These new spaces are valuable additions to the school's instructional program.
Adding to the safety and security of the entire campus, a new high-tech security system was installed to monitor the building and grounds in 2006. Window blinds were also installed in the computer lab and provide the ability to close off that room from view of the main hall.
During Christmas break 2007, a new state-of-the art intercom system was installed so announcements and alarms can be heard school-wide. In addition, the county implemented the AlertNow notification system in January 2008. School officials can now keep parents, students, and the community informed about school events and emergencies.
A wide-range of renovation projects have been initiated on the athletic fields beginning in 1998. A new softball field with dugouts was created. Drainage problems on the baseball field were corrected, dugouts built, and new fencing installed. In 2003, the CHS athletic department moved into their new field house adjacent to the main building. In addition, a covered picnic area was completed on the east side of the building next to the field house. A new football practice field, located adjacent to the field house, was first used during the 2005-06 season. A new press box at the football stadium was constructed in 2006. Renovations at the baseball field have been completed and the softball field has on-site restroom facilities. In 2007, a new concession stand, public restroom facilites, and ticket booth have been constructed near the football field.
During 2002, picnic tables were installed in three locations at the Outdoor Classroom. Three benches along with memorial plaques were placed at the pond in memory of Brad Byrd, Doug Gooch, and Linda Gooch. Much of the work for this project was provided by the Boy Scouts of Wartburg, Troop 159. Other campus improvements at that time included new wooden benches at the main entrance and campus-wide landscaping. For 2007, access to handicapped parking and entrance to the main building is more clearly marked. In addition, a new gate for the west entrance has been installed.
For 2004, the school parking lots were re-surfaced, and a new roof was installed on the entire school. Telephones were installed in each of the classrooms along with a new intercom system. The faculty and administration are continually working to provide renovations and improvements that will add to the aesthetic quality of the educational atmosphere.