Throwback Thursday – College High

Just over 100 years ago, a new type of education came to the campus of Western Kentucky Normal School. Operating for nearly 50 years, the Training School, or College High, was established for students age kindergarten thru high school who aspired to be teachers. 

Originally open in 1906, the Model Training School had an agreement between the Western Kentucky Normal School collegiate Board of Regents and the Bowling Green City Schools. The school was initially only for students thru fourth grade, but grew to eighth grade by 1912. The school continued growing and became independent of Bowling Green City Schools in 1920.

The Model Training School moved to its own building in 1925, expanding to include education all the way through high school grades. The construction of College High was just over $200 thousand dollars, and its first graduating class was 10 students in 1926. 

Because of the College High’s relationship with WKU, its students were given opportunities in partnerships with university departments. The school was featured in the college’s Talisman yearbook, and many of the College High graduates continued their education at WKU. One of the most notable graduates was Dero Downing, future WKU President and namesake for the student union.

College High closed in 1970, but the university continued to use it as additional classroom building. It received a $6.8 million renovation and was rededicated in 2010. 

It’s now the home of the Department of Mathematics and Dean’s office for the Ogden College of Science & Engineering.