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The History of Mt. Lebanon High School

MTLSD High School Old Class Photo 



On February 12, 1912, the residents of the township now known as Mt. Lebanon broke away from Scott Township.  Mt. Lebanon’s newly elected board of school directors held its first meeting in the Ammann Avenue School in July 1912.  Among its first priorities was to establish a two-room high school in the Truby Building on Washington Road.  Washington School opened in 1922 with a student population of 500.  High School students were added in 1927 following the closing of the Truby Building.  With the student population reaching 765 by 1925, the Lincoln School was built, followed by Howe School in 1927, and Markham in 1929.  Even with the Great Depression in full swing, additions were added to Markham, Howe and Lincoln Schools almost immediately.

In 1927, Mt. Lebanon High School opened for grades 7, 8, and 9.  Grades 10, 11 and 12 were added in 1928. The first Mt. Lebanon High School commencement took place in 1931 graduating 20 students in February 1931 and 50 in June.  The new school was described as one of the most modern educational plants in the state, according to the June 3, 1931, edition of the Lantern, the high school newspaper.  Mellon Junior High school opened in 1939.  Foster Elementary was added in 1941—just before World War II.  To accommodate the baby boomers who followed the war, Jefferson Elementary was added in 1952, followed by Jefferson Junior High School in 1959.  Two additions were added to the high school in 1956 and 1957, and Hoover Elementary School—the newest school building—was completed in 1972.

By the late 1960s, school officials were busy making preparations for the new high school’s six-story addition with the upper three floors connected to the original building, a new gymnasium, and a fine arts wing connected to the main auditorium.  Ground was broken in 1970, and students began moving into the upper three floors in the spring of 1972 so that renovations could start in the old building.  When the building was finished in the fall of 1972, ninth grade students were moved into the senior high school to relieve overcrowding at the junior high schools.

In the 1980s enrollment began to steadily decline resulting in over 100 empty or underutilized classrooms throughout the district.  Jefferson and Mellon Junior High Schools were closed and those students were relocated to the high school.  Available space was leased to daycare centers and community organizations.  However, the declining enrollment was short-lived, and in order to accommodate increasing enrollment the board voted in October 1995 to reopen these schools for students in grades six through eight.  Construction began in 1997 and in September 1998, Mellon and Jefferson Middle Schools were opened, easing overcrowding at the high school as well as in the elementary schools.

Since 2000, the district renovated all seven elementary schools.  Work began in 2002 with Howe and Foster schools and was completed in 2005 with the final schools, Hoover and Washington.  


Students with hard hats

Planning for the renovation of the high school began in 2006 and involved many public meetings and forums to determine what the community wanted to see in a new high school, and in January, 2012, construction was underway. 


The high school now consists of new construction and renovated portions of the existing buildings.  New buildings include the Science Wing and an Athletic Building that houses a new eight lane pool, a main competition gym, two auxiliary gyms, and a fitness center.  Existing portions of the building that were retained and renovated like new include the 1930 building on Cochran Road, the Auditorium, and Fine Arts Theatre. State-of-the-art classrooms are in both the new and renovated spaces. A major architectural feature of the high school is the grand staircase with a large, blue wall that displays inspirational quotes selected by students and staff.
The original South Gym was significantly renovated into the new Center Court, which is centrally located to make it the heart of the school with the cafeteria integrated into this space. Each major area of learning has access to Center Court creating a flexible student hub that is connected to all curricular areas.  The library, music rooms, and Student Activities Office are also adjacent to Center Court allowing students to easily move between these areas. 

The new high school was built to serve our students and the Mt. Lebanon community now and into the future.



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