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Goochland High School, the first consolidated secondary school for white students, was constructed in 1934. Goochland County records state that forty-two acres of land for this new school was bought for $2,500 from the Miller family estate, known as “Reed Marsh”, in 1933. This notable Goochland family, the Millers, had the distinction of holding the position of County Clerk in Goochland for four successive generations, or one hundred fifty-two years.
P.G. Miller, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors of Goochland Co.
September 22, 1933
At a special meeting on September 22, 1933 held at the Courthouse, a plan was submitted by Mr. Stuart C. Cottrell, Superintendent of Schools of Goochland County, for a modern fire-proof high school to be located in the vicinity of Goochland Courthouse as nearly central to the county as practicable. The considerations making it desirable to erect this building were principally:
First: That it would provide more modern and adequate facilities for high school pupils.
Second: That it would greatly reduce fire hazards, as public gatherings in the auditorium in the present frame buildings render it unsafe, and in the absence of adequate fire protection make it dangerous to use them.
Third: That it would enable the three high schools now in use to be eliminated for high school purposes and centralize them in the new building and effect a large savings in the salaries of principals and teachers. Also, this would effect a savings in bus transportations and simplify the routing of the same.
Fourth: This building may now be erected at a minimum cost of material and labor at a time when they may be reasonably expected to be had at their lowest. Whereas it is expected that such cost of building will considerably advance if the erection of this building is delayed.
Under the plan proposed by Mr. Cottrell, a building cost of approximately $45, 000.00 is anticipated. The means by which this money is raised contemplated.
A loan from the State Literary Fund of approximately $30, 000.00.
Securing the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works a grant of approximately $15,000.00.
The loan from the Literary Fund will be spread over a period of fifteen years. The grant from Federal funds is an absolute grant and does not have to be repaid.
It has been carefully and conservatively estimated that the net savings which the building of this high school will promote will be approximately $3,700.00 a year which will more than meet the annual payments of principal and interest on the loan from the Literary Fund.
The type of building proposed is to be of brick, reinforced with steel throughout, with appropriate roof of slate or terra cotta. Said building to meet all the requirements of specifications of the State Board of Education. Buildings of this type have been and are being erected throughout the sate and have proven to be perfectly satisfactory. In brief, the plan provided for obtaining improved and modern high school facilities for less money than is now being spent for this purpose and without any additional appropriation, levy or contribution from the county. The Board of Supervisors has carefully considered the plan and endorsed it unanimously.
Ordered that this Board be adjourned until the next regular meeting.
A. J. Houchins, Chariman
P. G. Miller, Clerk
The original building structure was quite elaborate for its day. Even though altered and/or remodeled over the years, the structure remains standing to date and presently serves as the County Administration Building.
In October 1934, the new high school’s ten classrooms opened for students in grades eight through eleven under the leadership of Stuart M. Cottrell, Superintendent, and Irving S. Driscoll, Principal. These grade levels of instruction continued from 1934 until 1957 when Goochland High School graduates were required to earn credits for twelve years of instruction. Along with the ten classrooms, the new school had a library, science lab, music room, business education room, auditorium, administrative suite, and two main toilet rooms.
The faculty for the new Goochland High School consisted of Irving S. Driscoll, Principal and Amanda D. Pitts, Assistant Principal. Teachers included Sam W. Mitchell, Miss Fannie Martin, Miss Helen Monterio, Miss Mary Elizabeth Mayo, and Ashby Kay, Instructor of Agriculture. Mr. Kay was to become the Superintendent of Goochland County Public Schools on July 1, 1941.
Later additions and renovations to Goochland High School included the following:
1940 Construction of agriculture shop $1000
1941 Home economics cottage $10,000
1951 Addition to agriculture shop $2000
1962 Andrews and Parrish, Contractor $254,510
1968 Gymnasium and equipment,
Worley Brothers, Contractor $474, 270
1972 Additions, including lockers and carpet
for library and administrative suites $345,000
1976 (April) Old agriculture shop removed
1976 ( May 11) New vocational building and
Central High School, which is now Goochland Middle School, was attended by the black students of county until full integration in 1969.
In 1968, a gymnasium was constructed between the athletic field and the main building. This facility could accommodate one-thousand spectators for various events. It had complete locker rooms, storage facilities and four classrooms. Prior to the completion of this facility, basketball games had to be played at the Beaumont Learning Center. Before that, they were played outside. In 1978, a new running track was completed.
While Joseph Michael was principal in 1961-62, a band room was drafted in the school’s expansion plans. Through the years, a band director and vocal instructor have continued the music program.
The guidance department was added in 1962 with one guidance counselor, Edith M. Trice. In 1973, a second guidance was added.
The first major expansion project in the early 1960’s also acknowledged needs for additional commercial department classrooms, science laboratories, a French language laboratory, a “cataloged” library, and a larger cafeteria. In 1972, a second addition to the main building provided for a more spacious kitchen, improved cafeteria facilities, an art center with a full-time instructor, four additional classrooms, and business laboratories. The old library was converted into a resource center and then used for classrooms.
In 1999, construction began for the new, modern high school on River Road West. Students began attending school in grades 9-12 in the fall of 2001, with the 8th grade students coming the following year.
From 2002-2007, the school was administered by one principal, Mr. Jon Bennett. During that time Dr. Nicholas Kalafatis, Mrs. Pat Chavis, and Mr. Bryan Gordon served as associate and assistant principals. Over 945 students attended Goochland High School under the operation of more than 70 staff members when it served grades 8-12.
As the school and the county have grown, course offerings have been expanded and include special education, visual and performing arts, foreign languages, GED, advanced placement, computer technology, dual enrollment, and the college connection academy, which allows students to earn college credits while still in high school through the local community college.
Athletics at Goochland High School have also been an integral part of the total school program. Presently, our athletic department offers football, basketball, baseball, softball, track, cross country, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming, gymnastics and volleyball.
Other extracurricular activities include: Student Cooperative Association (SCA), Academic Competition for Excellence (ACE), National Honor Society (NHS), band, chorus, drama, yearbook, National Art Honor Society (NAHS), Key Club, Cheerleading, Flag Corps, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), French Club, Spanish Club, Latin Club, and the Ecology Club.
In 2006, construction began for the final phase of the middle school wing, which opened in the fall of 2007. GMS serves students in grades 6-8. The middle school wing is its own entity with its own office, cafeteria, computer lab, library, and gymnasium.
Goochland High School continues to meet the demands of an ever-changing population of students. Our school currently participates in High Schools That Work to help continue to raise student achievement. The administration and staff are dedicated to reaching all students and helping them achieve to their fullest potential.
In 2007-08, GHS added two new positions: an internships coordinator (Jessie Hernandez) and an instructional technology resource teacher (Bea Cantor). The high school shares Mrs. Cantor and our technology technician, Ginni Nichols, with Goochland Middle School.
Today, Goochland High School has a new principal, Francie Ball and her administrative team includes athletics director Bryan Gordon and two assistant principals: Karen Kelley and Matt Covington.
Portions of this history were taken from:
Morsink, Jacqueline Williams. “Goochland High School 1934-2004: A Brief History and Early Recollections”. Goochland County Historical Society Magazine 36 (2004): 10-19.
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