In 1921 the newly formed Pierce City school district constructed its first high school building, which later became the Pierce City R-VI Middle School. Prior to this time, small one-room school buildings dotted the countryside and few students continued past the eighth grade. The conception and building of this facility was a giant leap for this small farming town. It afforded a more complete and higher education than most people of the time even dreamed of. The school construction was financed through private donations and citizens were encouraged each week through the local newspaper publishing the names of those who had made contributions to the $45,000.00 building campaign. This building is also significant in that, in 2003 a devastating tornado hit Pierce City, destroying most of its commercial and institutional buildings, but sparing this historic school building.
Constructed of brick, stone, tile and reinforced concrete, the Pierce City High School Building covered an area 65 X 75 feet. It consisted of two stores over a basement and was equipped with steam heat and modern plumbing. Basement space consisted of boiler room, boys’ and girls’ locker rooms and toilets, one large classroom, fuel room and unfinished 30 X 43 room beneath the first floor auditorium. The first floor consisted of two classrooms, a recitation room, superintendant’s office, a number of closets and the auditorium. Second floor spaces included two large classrooms, recitation room, large laboratory and a supply room. The classroom floors, boiler room and corridors are all reinforced concrete, with the classrooms receiving a wood floor overlay. The building in 2009 is essentially unchanged but for the later addition of a gymnasium, which has subsequently been partitioned and fitted with drop ceilings.
Although further study is warranted, a structural engineer’s report in June 2008 found the building to be structurally sound. The building has suffered from deferred maintenance, but its biggest threat is the proposed demolition endorsed by the school board, which fails to realize the historical importance of the building and the possibility of renovating the building for continued school use.
Update: The school was demolished in 2019 🙁