Breaking Ground: Rush-Henrietta’s First New School

  • Not long after the Rush-Henrietta Central School District was approved by residents in 1946, the Board of Education advocated for the creation of a new school building to meet the needs of its students. Three years later, voters approved by a wide margin the purchase of 65 acres - at a cost not to exceed $15,000 - from Clark Stone on East Henrietta Road. 

    With that accomplished, the next step was a community vote on building a new school. Students still needed better facilities in which to learn, and community members rallied around the cause. On September 19, 1949, Rush-Henrietta voters approved a proposition allowing construction of Rush-Henrietta Central School, now known as Roth Junior High School. 

    Voters gave the green light for construction of the new school by a margin of 82 percent to 18 percent. Coincidentally, voters in the Pittsford Central School District, which also was created in 1946, held a vote to build their first new school on the same day. Pittsford’s pitch was approved by 69 percent of voters.

    A special groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of the Rush-Henrietta Central School was held the following year. On May 3, 1950, Charles Roth Sr, an original board member whose name would later adorn the building, was there to mark the special occasion. The festivities also featured Principal George Yackel, Vice Principal John Parker, Board Member Ray Bock, District School Superintendent Lester Foreman, and Student Council President Richard Wendt. Benedict Ade, who was the architect for the project, also was on hand. William Gillette, who had the distinction of being Rush-Henrietta’s first board president, put the first shovel in the ground. 

    The new school was designed to accommodate 1,000 students and was designed and built for $1.5 million. In retrospect, that seems like an incredible bargain. It would cost that much to add just a few classrooms onto an existing school today.

    And, wow, did people here love their new school! It wasn’t just people here, though, and we’ll explain more in an upcoming post. 

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