NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After years of delays, one of Metro Nashville’s oldest operational schools finally saw its historical marker unveiled Tuesday.
Hillsboro High School had a special unveiling of a historical marker in front of the building, which recently completed its latest set of renovations. The unveiling was followed by a ribbon cutting in front of the remodeled entrance to the building and attended by local dignitaries such as Mayor John Cooper, State Rep. Caleb Hemmer, State Sen. Heidi Campbell, and multiple school officials, including Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools.
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The unveiling came after multiple years of construction and renovation to the historic building. According to MNPS, Hillsboro High School is Metro Nashville’s oldest continuously operational high school. First opened in 1939, the school was designed to serve rural students between Bellevue and Antioch. It was named for the road to its western border, Hillsboro Pike.
The school was destroyed by a fire in the 1950s after a complete and extensive renovation and reconstructed in the mid-century modern style, which has been preserved ever since. The 1954 redesign was done by Edward Keeble, according to MNPS.
In addition to the most recent renovations, Hillsboro High School was also renovated in 1958, when its iconic outdoor clock was added to the facade of the building. Another renovation followed in 1995 before the most recent renovations and expansion in 2018.
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“We are so proud to recognize Hillsboro’s past while continuing to dream of its future and make those dreams come true, knowing that new students, staff, and traditions will join those that have come before them in an unbroken chain of teaching and learning, services supports and yes success here at Hillsboro High School. That is the Hillsboro way, and it is also the MNPS way,” said Battle. “This is why we have invested not just in renovating Hillsboro High School, but also in expanding it – making it an even better place for our students to learn, to grow, to thrive and to really have their aspirations fed.”
According to the Nashville Historical Commission, the marker’s placement outside of Hillsboro High School came from Metro Councilman Russ Pulley. In 2017, the Metro Council allocated funding for a new historical marker in every Council district, and Pulley recommended the high school for his district.
“It’s because this school is so important to this community, so we are thrilled to welcome this marker into the dozens of schools markers that we have state and Metro all across the county,” said Jessica Reeves, who administers the Historical Marker program for the Nashville Historical Commission.
“We’re so thrilled to be able to celebrate those community stories and schools, those small, local stories that mean so much to the people of Nashville,” she added. “Nashville has long been a place that values education, that values schools and students and learning, and I’m excited that we were able to preserve this beautiful, historic mid-century building.”
Some Hillsboro High School students were also on hand to enjoy the marker’s unveiling. They told News 2 they were grateful the school’s construction was complete and they were able to take advantage of the new features inside and out, including the brand new Flex Field located on top of the school’s parking garage and the newly remodeled theater.
“I think that it’s really important that we invest in our students and in our schools, and the fact that the Hillsboro community is able to get a state-of-the-art facility is really exciting,” said Alayna Mitchell.
She added that most of the construction took place during her high school career, so she was able to witness the transformation of the site from “literally dirt” to an “important investment” in Nashville’s students.
“As a cheerleader, I would come up to the school, and it was literally dirt and a little building, so to see how much it’s grown since then has been really exciting,” she said. “The fact that we are able to have this for our future generations, it’s a really big deal, and it was an important investment in Nashville’s future for sure.”
Abigail Mammo, a 17-year-old theater student, said she was glad to have the historical marker out front as a reminder to future students just how many generations of Nashvillians have come through the halls of Hillsboro High School.
“I’ve been really glad to have the opportunity to be here once it’s been completed because I know how many students have been here through the renovations and through the old school. Having a cousin who went to school here through the renovation, he was really excited to see that it was complete and that the building looks as beautiful as it does now,” she said.
“I also think the auditorium is great; as part of the theater program, it’s amazing to have an auditorium that can hold so many people with a balcony, and that’s also newly done for our set and for our lights and sound as well,” Mammo added. “I think that future Hillsboro students will enjoy the marker because they’ll get to know how many generations have come through Hillsboro and they’ll get to know more about the history as well.”
She also lauded the incorporation of the transit system just outside the school building, saying she knew how important the transit system was to both students and the general public alike.
“I know a lot of people rely on buses to get to school and public transportation, so having [a transit station] that’s well-built and equipped for different types of weather will be really helpful.”