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February 5th, 1908 – Marks the completion of the first iteration of Washington High School in Sioux Falls. Students would begin classes in the new building 9 days later on February 14th (I’m not sure how popular Valentine’s Day was at the time, but that seems like a strange day to bring all of the cities high schoolers together for the first time!!!)!

Previously a Sioux Falls High School made it’s home in the Central School building, which was actually right next door to were Washington High School was built. Other students who could not “fit” in the school would learn in smaller school houses generally on the outskirts of town.

City leaders seeing the need to encourage education all throughout the high school years invested in the brand new building, designed to serve 500 students. 328 kiddos showed up on the 14th to break in the new building for learning.

Within 3 short years the new building was already busting at the seams as more and more children continued their education into their late teenage years. It wouldn’t be until 1922 before an Addition was added on, this time to make space for over 1,500 students.

But even that wasn’t enough! A remodel of the original building in 1932 and another addition in 1935, which required the old Central School Building to finally be torn down, left Washington High School looking similar to how it looks today!

Washington High School would be the only high school in town until 1965, when an enrollment of over 3,300 students forced administrators to develop unique split-schedule classes as the building couldn’t fit all of the students at the same time!

On October 19, 1965 Lincoln High School was completed on the south end of town and about 1,300 students transitioned over to the new building.

By the end of the spring semester of 1992 it was clear that the old Washington High School could no longer effectively serve as a school building. A new Washington High School was built just 3.5 miles east of the old building. The new building shared almost an identical floor plan with another brand new school, Roosevelt High School, that had just been completed in 1991.

The old Washington High School building would sit mostly empty for 7 years until it was reimagined as the Washington Pavilion. It has since become a cultural center for music, preformance, and discovery in Sioux Falls!

Now exactly 114 years old, the old soldier is still standing carrying out the mission of supporting the Sioux Falls Community, Educating young minds, and bringing hope to our city!