As the Aledo ISD community prepares to vote in the upcoming bond election, there may be value in examining how previous generations responded to population growth in the area and the resulting stress on the local schools.
Growth in Aledo is not a new phenomenon. For the past 100 years, the area has experienced a steady increase in student population - and at times, that pace has accelerated.
When the existing school could no longer meet the needs of the growing number of students, the community responded in a big way. The new, modern Aledo School had eight classrooms, a homemaking room, a library, an auditorium located on the top floor, a laboratory, a shop, restrooms, two coal rooms, and a Delco system for electricity.
At the time, Aledo was praised for its bold commitment to education and investment in their children.
Opening in the 1924-25 school year, the new school was located on a parcel of land just behind the current Early Childhood Academy on FM 1187. This forward-thinking facility served area students in some capacity for more than 40 years, with ever-changing grade level configurations, depending on the need of the time.
Many of our long-time Aledo residents remember the old red brick building well. They may even have a story or two about the gravel playground.
Although the building was demolished in the mid 1960s, the land still serves students of Aledo ISD today.
The Aledo School was not the only school within what is now the Aledo ISD boundary. To the west was the Annetta School, located southwest of Airport Road and FM 5. To the north, the Prairie Hill School was located east of FM 3325 (Farmer Road) and north of Old Weatherford Road.
Interestingly, these are the approximate areas of the two newest Aledo ISD campuses: Annetta Elementary School and McAnally Middle School.
The Willow Springs School, located west of Aledo at the time, consolidated with the Aledo School in 1928, adding more students to the Aledo campus. Even with other schools in the area, it did not take long for this modern structure to feel the impact of an increased student population. More educational space was needed, and more space was delivered.
The first football stadium for Aledo was built in 1946. Five years later in 1951, the Aledo Independent School District as we know it today was officially formed.
At the initial June 1951 board meeting, one of the first items of business was discussion on a new high school building. A building committee was created to assist the school board. They discussed taxes and reserving 45% of revenue to service the debt of the new construction, which would include lockers and a modern bell system.
The original Aledo High School opened in 1955 just east of the red brick Aledo School. At that point, the red brick school transitioned to housing students in third through eighth grade.
More growth and more students in the 1960s led to the construction of an elementary school south of the high school in 1964.
Kindergarten through sixth grade occupied the two remaining buildings on site.
Over the next two decades, the Aledo High School underwent two different expansions in 1979 and 1987 to accommodate the growth of secondary students. Additions were also made to the elementary building. However, by the late 1980s, space was limited. The need for additional elementary classrooms would lead to something the district had never seen before - a second campus.
Up until this time, all students in Aledo ISD attended school on the same campus on FM 1187.
There was a strong desire in the community at that time to keep grade levels together. Rather than opening the new campus as a second elementary school, the new Aledo Primary School housed kindergarten to third grade. The elementary school on the FM 1187 campus became Aledo Intermediate School, housing fourth through sixth grade, while the high school building was home to grades seven through 12.
Next week for part two of the two-part series will cover the modern era of growth in Aledo ISD.
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