At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, the current Upper Arlington High School will close to make way for the opening of the new school - at 1625 Zollinger Road - in August.
“There’s so much to look forward to, with this amazing new space for students, but we are also sad to see the old Ridgeview building go,” said Superintendent Paul Imhoff, Ed.D. “Whether you’re an alumni or a current student, a parent or a grandparent, or a resident of this community, you have memories of this building. It has been a hub for our community for many years.”
Upper Arlington High School opened the doors of the Ridgeview Road building to students in September of 1956, and a few months later, in February 1957, the new school was officially dedicated at a community-wide ceremony in the gymnasium.
Jack Graf, the 2021 president of the Upper Arlington Alumni Association (UAAA), was among the first decade of classes to graduate from the current building - in 1965. By then, the school was in the process of expanding a second time and would eventually grow from the original 107,000 square feet to the nearly 294,000 square feet that exists today.
“As alumni, this building is a big part of our memories of high school,” Graf said. “We performed and created, practiced and competed, and learned and grew as students and young adults - all in this building. We’ll never forget this school or those memories.”
Graf and the UAAA were able to give alumni and community members one last chance to walk the hallways of Upper Arlington High School on April 18. For those who were not able to attend, the school district will be sharing a virtual tour here before the building is decommissioned following the final day of the school year, on May 27.
Construction on the new, 395,000-square-foot Upper Arlington High School is continuing on schedule and on budget to open for the start of the 2021-2022 school year in August.
“It’s bittersweet - saying goodbye to the old high school - but I’m so excited to welcome our students and staff into the beautiful new building,” Principal Andrew Theado said. “It will be the home of the Golden Bears for many generations to come.”
This summer, work will begin to demolish the old building, which will be done with great care, especially in the area built on the site of the Litchford family cemetery.
Pleasant Litchford was a master blacksmith who had been enslaved in Virginia, bought his freedom and settled in the area that is now Upper Arlington, purchasing the land that is now home to the high school as well as Northam Park and Tremont Elementary School. He made great contributions to the area, including donating land for a school for African-American children.
After the school district acquired that parcel of land in the 1950s, approximately 30 bodies were exhumed from the Litchford family cemetery and moved to other cemeteries in the area. An archaeological investigation in August of 2020 found that human remains were left behind - discovering one fully intact grave and two partially exhumed graves adjacent to the school.
Archaeologists will be on site throughout the demolition process. The district also remains committed to working with Litchford family descendants and community members to determine how to properly commemorate the contributions and legacy of Pleasant Litchford and the history of the site as the Litchford family cemetery - acknowledging and honoring our past as we celebrate our future.