Chandler High School (Chandler, Arizona)

Chandler High School (Chandler, Arizona)

Chandler High School
350 North Arizona Avenue
Chandler, Arizona
United States
Type Public
Established 1914
School district Chandler Unified School District
Principal Larry Rother
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 3,167 (October 1, 2012)[1]
Color(s)           Royal Blue and White
Mascot Wolves
Newspaper Wolf Howl
Yearbook El Lobo

The "Old Main" buildings at the Chandler HS campus
Chandler High School
Chandler High School (Chandler, Arizona) is located in Arizona
Location 350 N. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, Arizona
Built 1921–22
Architect Allison & Allison; Bell, Orville A.,
Architectural style Classical Revival, Mission/Spanish Revival
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 07000836[2]
Added to NRHP November 20, 2007

Chandler High School is a high school located in Chandler, Arizona, United States. One of the oldest high schools in Arizona it was founded in 1914, two years after the city was founded.

The high school has an active athletic program and has many sports rivalries with other local teams of which the most prominent is the football rivalry with Hamilton High School.


  • History 1
    • Permanent building 1.1
    • 1930s–1950s 1.2
    • 1960s–1975 1.3
    • 1975–1995 1.4
    • 1995–present 1.5
  • Known for 2
    • Academics 2.1
  • Trivia 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In 1914, Chandler became eligible to host a high school, and a separate high school district, featuring the same boundaries and executives as the elementary school district, formed at that time. The first high school subjects were taught that fall, with four teachers and nineteen freshmen using space at the Chandler Grammar School. Other classrooms were used after the 1914–15 school year, including local churches and businesses. The first students graduated in 1918, with a graduating class of three.

Permanent building

In 1919, the first of two bond issues passed to allow for the construction of a permanent home for the high school. The two bond issues (in 1919 and 1921) provided $291,800, and a site at Arizona Avenue and Detroit Street, adjacent to the grammar school, was selected.

The Los Angeles architectural firm of Allison & Allison designed the original plans, featuring a two-story Classical Revival structure (a departure from the Mission Revival of former buildings), a central auditorium, and two U-shaped classroom wings. Construction on the first phase, classroom space to open for the 1921–22 school year, began in the spring of 1921, at first performed by local contractor J.W. Tucker. After the 1921 bond, Kansas City-based Collins Brothers was the general contractor for the second phase. The entire project was completed on May 1, 1922.

The new building featured state-of-the-art amenities like a physics lab, a domestic science room with kitchen, an auditorium with seating capacity for 1,000, and one "ultramodern" feature for its time: an electric clock and bell system. All classrooms were connected by telephone to a central switchboard at the front office. The exterior was made of cement plaster coated in "fireproof stucco", with a tile roof and terra cotta trimmings. A formal dedication of the new building took place on May 10, 1922.


Enrollment at the high school in the 1920s and 1930s followed trends. In 1928, 32 students graduated; as the Great Depression took hold, only 15 did so in 1930. Numbers began to rise again in the late 1930s with about 34 students per class.

In 1939, the first new building in 17 years appeared on campus, a brand-new gymnasium. It was built for $70,000 ($27,000 of the funding came from a WPA grant) and featured a cafeteria in the rear. The original gymnasium was refinished on the exterior and remodeled into woodworking and agricultural shops.

In 1947, a band room building was added northwest of the main gymnasium. On the west side of the building was the district bus garage with entrance and exit off California Street. A used barracks building was also acquired and used for football dressing rooms, then the bookstore. A home economics building was constructed in 1950.

In 1953, the football track and field were moved from behind the original building to a new site at Nebraska and Erie streets, where the baseball field had already been moved. It was named Austin Field for W.G. "Bill" Austin, a 30-year teacher and administrator, Chandler High graduate, and 10-year football coach at the school. (It still bears this name today.) One newspaper article in 1960 referred to Austin as "Mr. Chandler High School".

In the 1950s, Chandler's second high school opened – the Roman Catholic Seton High School at its original campus site, what is now 300 East Chandler Boulevard. As Seton grew, many of its athletic events used Chandler High School's facilities into the 1980s (and even the early 2000s for some football games).


In 1959, a vocational/agriculture building off California Street was added; the next year, new north wing off the main building housed eleven classrooms and science labs, while old classrooms and locker bays were converted into guidance and administrative offices. By this point in time, Chandler had 899 students. The class of 1960 had 136 students. The faculty consisted of 33 teachers, and the school board was expanded to five members from three. Chandler also hired a new assistant superintendent.

As the 1960s continued, Chandler High School continued to grow. A music building was built facing Erie Street, and the original band room turned into a Graphic Arts classroom the next year. Also in 1964, a new Physical Education Building, including a new gymnasium and a new outdoor swimming pool, was opened.

The Cleveland School (the old Chandler Grammar School) closed in 1968, and it became the South Annex to Chandler High School. The classrooms were remodeled, and part of the building saw use for special education. The elementary school auditorium was now used for the high school, as by 1970, the original was converted into a media center and more classrooms.

The Cleveland School, except for the special education portion, was torn down to make room for 1973's newest addition, the Gail T. Gaddis Building (named for a 25-year teacher who retired that year). It included technical and industrial classrooms. The original gym, the Industrial Arts Building, became an enlarged Arts Building.


In 1975, the Chandler Elementary and High School Districts unified as the Chandler Unified School District. A pre-school was added in that year's addition to the Home Economics Building, turning it into a U-shape. A new bookstore was built several years later, then expanded to house the audiovisual department.

General renovations took place in 1987, but the biggest addition of classroom space to the school in the 1980s was when Chandler Junior High School was closed in 1988, replaced with Andersen Junior High School at Dobson and Ironwood roads. The closed school quickly became the North Annex to Chandler High School.

The next year, the Chandler Center for the Arts opened in collaboration with the City of Chandler.

During this time frame, Chandler High School was honored as a Blue Ribbon school[3] twice, in the 1982–83 and 1986–87 school years.


1995 and 1996 saw some of the most substantial changes to the campus in decades. In 1995, the Arts Building (original gymnasium), Music Building and Home Economics Building came down to make way for the Academic North and South building, a new administration building/media center, a new cafeteria and a new courtyard. The new buildings included 70 classrooms. The next year, renovations to the original building, now called Old Main, took place. The updated Old Main contained 48 classrooms. The gymnasium was named the "Coy C. Payne Gymnasium" after Chandler's first Black mayor.

By 1998, Chandler's population had gotten to the point where, at last, a second public high school was needed. Hamilton High School opened that year, and two additional high schools were opened in 2002 (Basha High School) and 2007 (Gilbert's Perry High School).

In 2002, a bond was presented to Chandler Unified district voters for $60 million. Half of that was earmarked to go to a renovated and expanded Chandler High School, including demolishing 90 homes to add 20 acres to the campus. The work was finished for the 2005–06 school year. Among the features were a new Gail T. Gaddis building, a two-story, 41,000 square feet (3,800 m2) building; new locker rooms; new athletic fields; exterior renovations to the gymnasium; and a new swimming pool.[4]

Old Main was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

The Chandler High Chess Team achieved second place in the region in 2014, as well as being awarded with the best board 1 (Jarod Coulter). This was Chandler's first year competing. The Chess Team went on to take 3rd place at the state competition the same year, in which the team received an award for the best board 5 (Cortney Reagle).

Known for


Chandler High School is renowned for its academics and their offerings of their large catalog of Advanced Placement classes. Aside from being one of the 572 World Schools in the United States (as of January 2008) offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, Chandler High School is also the first of only eight high schools in Arizona to offer the International Baccalaureate diploma. Those other International Baccalaureate schools are Tempe High School, Nogales High School, Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Ironwood High School in Glendale, Westwood High School in Mesa, along with North Canyon and Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix.

Chandler High School is also notable for its active and competitive music programs. Chandler High School Chorale was the first American high school to be invited to perform at the 2005 Jilin College of the Arts Summer Music Festival in Changchun, People's Republic of China,[6] and not only once, but twice to perform at the distinguished Carnegie Hall for a festival, while Chandler High School's Wolf Pack Pride Marching Band competed in the 2005–2006 Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship, placing fifth. The marching band competed again in the 2008–2009 Championship. The Symphonic Band also competed April 2006 in Boston at the Boston Symphony Hall in the Heritage Festival of Gold. The band took fourth.[7] The Symphonic Band competed again in April 2008 at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, taking first. In 2009, the Symphonic Band returned (for its third time) to the Festival of Gold in Los Angeles where it again took first place over groups from across the nation. In 2010, Chandler's Chorale visited the Festival of Gold, taking first as well. Chandler High's Varsity Jazz Ensemble has recently excelled on a local level. The Chandler Chamber Orchestra took Gold at the Heritage Music Festival in 2012.

In addition, Chandler's theater department has performed several well-known plays, including from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Outsiders, Miser, Rebel Without a Cause, Footloose, Still Life With Iris, and many more. The Chandler theatre has been to the Central Arizona Acting Festival and many students received Superior. A.P.A.C. (Advanced Pantomime And Characterization), the highest level acting class at Chandler, has performed numerous books for elementary students through Bookends, a program designed to promote literacy, for many years.



  1. ^ AIA 2012 enrollment figures
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  3. ^
  4. ^ [8] — this document was also used as the NRHP nomination form

External links

  • Chandler High School Official Website
  • School report card from the Arizona Department of Education