Sioux Falls Washington High School Historical Committee
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History of Washington High School
Construction of Sioux Falls Washington High School began in 1904, after Central School in Sioux Falls was outgrown. Upon completion in 1908, it was renamed from "Sioux Falls High School" to Washington High School. Three hundred twenty-eight high school students enrolled into the new building on February 14, 1908.
The students soon outgrew the building. With a high school population of 536 in 1911, the enrollment exceeded the maximum capacity of 500. With the addition of a new South Wing to Washington High in 1922, the enrollment grew from 959 in 1921 to 1,660 in 1930.
The district approved the remodeling of the north wing in 1932, and in 1935, the center unit of Washington High School was completed, with Central School razed in 1935 to make room for the west wing's construction. Following this remodeling, the exterior of Washington High School stood from 1935 until the current Washington High School was completed in 1992. After that, the original school was remodeled to become the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science.
All Sioux Falls public high school students attended Washington High from 1908 through the 1963–1964 school year. Washington's enrollment grew to 3,500 during the 1965 year. During this time it was one of the largest high schools in the country. The building's recommended capacity was 2,100. To solve overcrowding, the district began construction on Lincoln High School, as a second high school located on Cliff Avenue next to Interstate 229. Following some delays, Lincoln High School opened on October 19, 1965, with 1,300 students.
In 1992, the last year at old WHS, 1,439 Washington High School students attended classes in the downtown Washington High School.