History of Columbia Central High School
CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL first served the community in the late 1800's on South Main Street in Columbia, Tennessee. The exact location of this building is not known. In 1896the first class of eleventh graders, which were mostly girls, graduated. The school then moved to the old Athenaeum property, once a prestigious girls' school, and began using their building in October 1901. In 1915 the school building on West Eighth Street was erected, and it was considered a "superior school plant" with such things as a gymnasium, an auditorium, and several science laboratories. In 1916 the first twelfth graders graduated with a class which were mostly boys. Valiant efforts were made to save the old high school building, but it was razed. A small part of that school is now used by the Maury County Board of Education.
In the late 1950's, the school was considered outdated and outgrown, so Maury County built a new high school on Experiment Station Lane in 1961 (pictured above). This building served until May of 2015 as Columbia's public high school on what is now Lion Parkway (the street was renamed several years ago). Several additions were made over the years in an effort to remain progressive, such as the vocational building (1976) and the science wing (1990).
The school has weathered many changes. In 1969 complete integration took place with the closing of Carver Smith School. The enrollment has risen from less than a thousand in the sixties to more than nineteen hundred in the eighties. In 1988 the ninth grade was moved from Whitthorne Junior High to become a part of the high school, as it was earlier in the history of the school.
On April 20, 2015 the Maury County Comission approved the $46 million construction plan for the new CHS. The new building is being constructed on the existing campus and will happen in a four-phase process. Demolition began in May of 2015 and the building is projected to be finished by 2019.
CHS has been an accredited school since its earliest days, and has maintained its accredidation with the Southern Association since 1917. Noteworth is Central's recognition as one of Tennessee's 5A Schools, again almost from its beginning.
Graduates of Central High School have distinguised themselves in every profession, and the dedicated faculty and administration through the years have made every effort to continue to aid students in preparing themselves for successful futures.