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Early 1960s Student Handbooks for North Hills Junior High School in the Central York School District. In 1982 this school building became Central York Middle School. (S.H. Smith handbooks from 7th, 8th and 9th grades attended)

Central York Middle School began as North Hills Junior High

Central York Middle School began as North Hills Junior High School, which opened for student use on April 24, 1961. This post combines all answers to recurring questions that readers have posed about North Hills since my post of two years ago about Reminiscences of Walking to North Hills School.

Questions ranged from the school’s mascot, colors, flag and alma mater; to the pay phone location. However the most often asked question has been what is the correct year when North Hills Junior High School opened. Incorrect dates appear in: the Springettsbury Township Centennial Book noting North Hills Junior High School opened in 1957. A big plaque, which was in the lobby of North Hills used 1959. Central York School District’s web site has North Hills Junior High School incorrectly completed in 1960, per their History page. That likely comes from a probable typo in the booklet from North Hills Junior High School dedication on January 21, 1962.

The correct dates are as follows. The School Board of the Central York School District first pondered the future need for a new Central Junior High School in 1957. Several potential sites were explored in Springettsbury and Manchester Townships during 1958 and on June 23, 1958 the School Board made their intentions know to the Department of Public Instruction to build a 1,000 student junior high school. Early in 1959 soil test borings were conducted at several of those sites. A 22-acre site along North Hills Road was selected and on July 10, 1959 it was purchased from Paul Ruppert for $33,529. Buchart Associates was the Architect for the new school building. The School Board awarded contracts on October 19, 1959 to build the school, with groundbreaking held the following month.

Buchart Associates 1959 rendering of proposed North Hills Junior High School. (Collection of York County History Center)

A booklet from North Hills Junior High School dedication on January 21, 1962 incorrectly states “the first students were housed in part of the Junior High School on April 22, 1960.” That is definitely not correct because the Gazette and Daily of July 13, 1960 shows an aerial photo of the construction site with no roof on any part of the building, and a forecast of completion not until December of 1960; and that was not met.

An aerial photo showing construction progress on North Hills Junior High School as of July 11, 1960, appeared in The Gazette and Daily two days later. Caption noted “The original completion date of Sept. 1, 1960, will not be met, and the building probably will not be completely finished until December, according to the forecast.” (AirPhoto by The Gazette and Daily in Collection of York County History Center; published in the July 13, 1960 issue of The Gazette and Daily, pg. 4)

The first students to use the building wrote about the history of the building in the Student Handbooks: “The new North Hills Junior High School was officially opened for student use on April 24, 1961. … On opening day the building had not yet been completed, and as students moved in they found the auditorium and music areas still under construction. However, classroom facilities were ready to be utilized. The building itself was quite impressive to everyone. … During the summer of 1961, the North Hills building was completed.” The floor plan of the school, extending from North Hills Road westward, is shown in the following illustration.

This is original floor plan of North Hills Junior High School in the Central York School District, York County, PA. (Source: 1962-1963 Student Handbook, pages 24 & 25.)

The April 24, 1961 opening date for student use agrees with local April 25, 1961 newspaper articles, some with photos. On April 24, 1961, some 660 seventh and eighth graders, carrying everything from their lockers at Central, were bussed from Central York High School in North York to the new North Hills Junior High School; officially opening it for student use. These students finished out their 1960-1961 school year at North Hills Junior High.

The next school year (1961-1962) these original students to occupy the building became 8th and 9th graders at North Hills Junior High School; joined by a new group of 7th graders, having graduated from elementary schools throughout the school district.

On April 24, 1961, some 660 seventh and eighth graders, carrying everything from their lockers, were bussed from Central York High School in North York to the new North Hills Junior High School; officially opening it for student use. The next school year (1961-1962) these students became 8th and 9th graders at North Hills Junior High School; joined by a new group of 7th graders, having graduated from elementary schools throughout the school district. (Photo from April 25, 1961 issue of The Gazette and Daily, pg. 4)

The year 1959 on the plaque in the lobby of North Hills Junior High School is indicative of when the School Board awarded contracts (on October 19, 1959) to build the school, with groundbreaking held the following month on the 22-acre site which was purchased from Paul Ruppert on July 10, 1959.

Plaque is in lobby of North Hills Junior High School. The year 1959 is when School Board awarding contracts (10/19/59) to build the school, with groundbreaking held the following month on 22-acre site purchased from Paul Ruppert 7/10/59. (Plaque photo source: Booklet from North Hills Junior High School dedication on January 21, 1962)

A booklet was handed out at the North Hills Junior High School dedication on January 21, 1962. It includes several photos from 1961, such as the view looking towards the serving area from cafeteria.

View looks towards the serving area from cafeteria in North Hills Junior High School during 1961. (Source: Booklet from North Hills Junior High School dedication on Jan. 21, 1962)

One reader remembered spreading blankets in the outdoor plaza grass, off of the cafeteria; where their group ate lunch outdoors on nice days in the spring. Maybe others remember doing that, however I don’t remember it being allowed during the 1962 though 1965 years I went there. The plaza was mainly one of the places to hang out after eating lunch.

This outdoor plaza is off of cafeteria in North Hills Junior High School during 1961. (Source: Booklet from North Hills Junior High School dedication on Jan. 21, 1962)

Inside the front cover of the Student Handbook is the school’s Alma Mater. A reader remembered it being sung by all students meeting in the auditorium at the start of the school year, and on other occasions. She wanted to know who wrote it. A newspaper article concerning the North Hills Junior High School dedication on January 21, 1962, indicated Richard Kuhn, Jr. wrote the Alma Mater that would be sung by students during the ceremonies. Mr. Kuhn was a popular eighth grade English and History teacher at North Hills.

ALMA MATER
North Hills we pledge to thee, All our strength and loyalty,
Minds and hearts filled with pride, As we stand by thy side,
Knowledge we will seek from thee, With honor, trust, and fidelity,
We will strive for truth and right, Seeking it with all our might,
Always we will revere thy name, As we seek to bring thee fame,
To thy goals ever true, Scholarship we shall pursue,
Following ’neath the Black and White, With our banners ever bright,
We will always faithful be, North Hills High, we sing to thee.

View looks towards stage in auditorium of North Hills Junior High School during 1961. (Source: Booklet from North Hills Junior High School dedication on Jan. 21, 1962)

The school colors were black and white, proposed by the initial student government and approved by the student body. The falcon, as the school mascot, was selected in a like manner.

The lobby next to the auditorium was another place to hang out before classes started and after lunch. On the east side of the lobby, near the office, was the only place a telephone was available for student use; it was a pay phone.

Lobby next to auditorium (at left) and gymnasium in North Hills Junior High School during 1961. (Source: Booklet from North Hills Junior High School dedication on Jan. 21, 1962)

Present lobby view, next to auditorium and gymnasium in Central York Middle School; corresponds to the original North Hills Junior High view.

Present lobby view, next to auditorium and gymnasium in Central York Middle School; corresponds to the original North Hills Junior High view. (2023 Photo: Retro York Facebook)

Present main entrance into lobby of Central York Middle School is at right side of the following photo. Three large architectural embellishments at the left side, on the exterior of the auditorium wall, are original to the North Hills Junior High School building, except the orange one was originally painted light green.

Present main entrance into lobby of Central York Middle School is at right side of photo. Three large architectural embellishments at the left side, on the exterior of the auditorium wall, are original to the North Hills Junior High School building, except the orange one was originally painted light green. (2023 Photo: Retro York Facebook)

It is believed North Hills Junior High School colors of Black and White come from the black and white architectural embellishments that were there even before any students used the building.

North Hills Colonial Fife & Drum Corps parade outside the auditorium of North Hills Junior High School about 1972. Three large architectural embellishments in the upper right are on the exterior wall of the auditorium. Even prior to the building opening they were, from left to right: light green, white and black. (Photo source: York County History Center)

This photo of North Hills Colonial Fife & Drum Corps, which was established in 1971, is the only photo I found that appears to show the school flag, at the right side of the flag line. The student handbook indicates a flag contest was held during the (1961-1962) school year, when a design for the school flag was chosen. Does anybody have a photo of the flag?

Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the photos and illustrations in this post.

Links to related posts:

Reminiscences of Walking to North Hills School

SNOW WARS—Snowball Battles of Yesteryear

Remembering the North Hills Road underpass

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts