70 Years and Counting - A Closer Look at the History of Anthony Wayne Schools
Over 70 years ago, Anthony Wayne Local Schools evolved from the vision of the citizens and school boards of Monclova, Waterville, and Whitehouse. Students attended classes in their respective home communities and no central educational facility existed. Today, the Anthony Wayne school community includes six education buildings, over 4,400 students and hundreds of teaching, administrative, and support staff, within 77 square miles; and serves Monclova Township, Waterville, Whitehouse, and parts of Swanton, Middleton, and Providence Townships. The school district that began as an attempt to relieve some of the financial burdens of three small school systems has emerged as a statewide educational leader and a model for sound financial management.
In the Beginning . . .
Talks of consolidation were initiated in early 1950 by school board members Robert Shelton (Waterville), Willard Schaller (Monclova), and Rodney Boyer (Whitehouse) as a logical solution to the financial challenges facing all three districts. Convincing each community was difficult since each was proud of its own school district. However, a core group of supportive citizens rallied and were able to convince voters by highlighting the advantages such a school system could offer all students. In addition, community leaders, including Harry H. Dudrow, longtime Superintendent of Waterville Schools, voiced their support for the project. The newly created Board of Education was sworn in by Lucas County Superintendent Harold Ryder, on July 6, 1950, and included Robert Shelton (Waterville), president; Willard Schaller (Monclova) vice-president, Rodney Boyer (Whitehouse); Jay C. Dennis (Whitehouse); and Owen Wilder (Monclova). Walter Grimm (Waterville) was appointed clerk-treasurer. Each member was to serve until January 1, 1952. At this meeting, Superintendent Ryder recommended the appointment of John C. Rudolph as superintendent of the new school district. Rudolph was hired with a three-year contract amounting to $4,500, $4,800, and $5,100. Harry Dudrow became assistant superintendent and work began immediately to build a high school on Finzel Road in Whitehouse. A levy for $856,000 appeared on the November 7, 1950, general election ballot. Although a number of attempts to defeat the levy occurred, the levy passed creating Anthony Wayne Local Schools. Following the passage of the levy, a contest was held to name the district. Although a number of suggestions were submitted, the community decided to honor General Anthony Wayne, who successfully led his army in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Local legend attributes the winning entry to Olive Dudrow (Waterville) a local historian.
Anthony Wayne High School
The first combined graduation was May 5, 1951, in the Whitehouse School stadium. Clyde Hissong, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Ohio, served as the keynote speaker. The second graduation was held in the Whitehouse Auditorium on May 23, 1952, with Congressman Frazier Reams as the guest speaker. Ground breaking for the new Anthony Wayne High School took place August 14, 1951. Students moved into the school, situated on a centrally located 35.5 acre Finzel Road site in Whitehouse, January 19, 1953. Local citizens helped by moving boxes, books and equipment. The original building was 57,400 square feet and designed to hold 600 - 650 students. The dedication took place on April 19, 1953, and featured Dr. Walter A. Zaugg of Bowling Green State University as the keynote speaker. AWHS was able to add a 602-seat auditorium as a direct result of savings achieved on the original bids for building construction. During the 1954-55 school year, a field house and football stadium for 2,000 fans were erected. In 1968, the original high school building was expanded at a cost of $1,450,000. The addition included classrooms, laboratories, a new cafeteria, and an enlarged music and theatre wing. High school renovations were celebrated in a 1997 rededication of Anthony Wayne High School (still on its original Finzel Road site). Additions included a second floor of classrooms, a new 2,200 seat gymnasium, a state of the art performing arts center, enlarged band and choir rooms, upgraded science labs, and expanded computer labs. In addition, other improvements were made to facilities located on the campus. Additional high school renovations included the addition of a Technology Wing and an outdoor sports complex in 2002.
Other District Additions and Building Improvements
Campus improvements and additions have not been limited to Anthony Wayne High School. In 1960, Anthony Wayne built a junior high school next to the high school at a cost of $1,450,000. The junior high, named Fallen Timbers Junior High, became Fallen Timbers Middle School in the fall of 1968 (classrooms were added to the south end of the building). With the expansion of the high school in 1968, the ninth grade was moved to the high school and Fallen Timbers housed grades six, seven, and eight. When the new Fallen Timbers (the present building) was built in 1973, the name was transferred to it as well as grades six and seven. Grade five came from the primary buildings. In 1973, the former Fallen Timbers became part of the high school as Anthony Wayne South. In 1998, this building became Anthony Wayne Junior High School once again and now houses seventh and eighth grade students. At this time and after several generations of students of mixed grades, Fallen Timbers Middle School began housing students in grades five and six.
In addition to other district projects in 1968, a one-story expansion was added to Whitehouse Primary. Also in 1973, Anthony Wayne built Monclova Primary School at the corner of Monclova and Waterville-Monclova Roads, next to the original Monclova School building. This elementary building houses students in grades kindergarten through fourth. Both Fallen Timbers Middle and Monclova Primary Schools were built at a combined cost of $2,270,000. In addition to the renovated high school, the district also dedicated a new Waterville Primary School in 1997. The building includes facilities for up to 620 students and includes a community room. Improvements at Whitehouse School have included kitchen and lunchroom expansions and the addition of an elevator. Monclova Primary School received three new classrooms and a new entrance. Financing the $13,400,000 for the high school renovation, the construction of the new Waterville Primary School and improvements in all other Anthony Wayne buildings was secured through the approval of a May 2, 1995 bond issue.
Planning for the 21st Century
Growth has been "fast and furious" over the past 50-plus years. What used to be known as the Monclova, Waterville, and Whitehouse communities has come be known as the Anthony Wayne community - quite a feat considering the initial opposition to the consolidation! As the district has grown, its reputation for maintaining excellence in education has grown exponentially. A recognized leader in innovative instruction, Anthony Wayne has been designated an Apple Distinguished School for its integration of technology across the curriculum. Students at all grade levels regularly receive academic, creative and athletic achievement honors. In addition, students perform at top levels on state proficiency, achievement, and graduation tests. At 55-plus, Anthony Wayne continues to evolve to meet the challenges of preparing the minds of today's youth to meet future challenges.
Keeping its eye on the future, in March 2000, Anthony Wayne voters overwhelmingly passed a No New Millage Bond issue for $13,750,000 to fund new technological facilities, land acquisition, and additional classrooms to meet the growing demands of new programs and residential growth. Virtually every building in the district benefited from this bond issue.
Also keeping an eye on the future, Anthony Wayne voters renewed a 3.3 mill five-year Operating Levy in 2008 that will generate $3 million per year for five years. This operating levy was originally approve in 2003, which was the first time the school district received additional operating funds from voters since the last levy in 1992 – one of the longest periods between levies in Northwest Ohio and in the state.
In December 2004, Anthony Wayne central administration moved into a new office on Bucher Road. The Bucher Campus, which includes 90 acres for future district expansion, is positioned to house the next generation of Anthony Wayne students. In 2005, Anthony Wayne completed a nine-classroom addition to Monclova Primary. This is the final addition to this school and builds it out to its original specifications.
Facilities continue to be a focus for the Board of Education and district administrators. Increases in overall student enrollment, even during the recent economic downturn, have filled all of the six school buildings to their respective capacities. In February of 2010 a community focus group was convened to discuss future facilities needs for the district. This group was comprised of parents, community and business leaders, local officials, and clergy. The overwhelming sentiment of the group was to maintain Anthony Wayne High School at its current location on Finzel Road possibly building a new junior high building at the Bucher Road site.
However, the focus group did not feel that the economy had recovered to the point where a new bond issue could be successful. State legislative mandates may also influence decisions on facilities. Anthony Wayne Local Schools has not asked voters for a bond issue (money to build facilities) since passing one in March of 2000.
Anthony Wayne Schools gratefully acknowledges the following contributors to this history – Becky Jacobs, Mark Knerr, and Roy Williamson.