|Exeter Township Senior High School Through The Years
The first attempt to construct a high school in Exeter Township in the mid 1930's was unsuccessful due to voters defeating the bond proposal. The idea reappeared in 1946 when M. Luther Lausch was named Supervising Principal of the District, and although the project lagged for several more years, it finally received approval from the Department of Public Instruction in December of 1950.
Enrollment increased at a rate of 100 pupils per year, and even with half-day sessions for students, classroom space was insufficient. Through community efforts with strong PTA support, a building authority was formed and local resident Elmer Adams was hired as the architect. The school board, with an eye toward the future, opted to purchase 40 acres and doubled the size required by the state. In late 1952 Farmer Herbein's cow pasture, Amos Reiff's suburban development, and the back entrance to Irishtown yielded to heavy earth movers intent on preparing the area for a new junior-senior high school facility for the township.
The building, planned for 600 students, was delayed for another year by a builder's strike, however by September 1955, 590 seventh through twelfth grade students moved into the completed facility. Innovative compulsory curricula included family living, public speaking, driver education, and a controversial all-electric typing lab. Stephen R. Ruth, the first building principal, supervised a staff of 28. Exeter's building and campus facilities were Berks County's newest public educational complex since the 1930's Depression Years. The first senior class graduated from Exeter Township High School in 1956.
Enrollments continued to increase and in 1963 the junior high school was built to accomodate grades seven and eight. Ninth grade was not moved to the junior high facility until 1969 when a classroom addition and an auditorium were added. It was not until that year that the senior high became a tenth through twelfth grade building. In 1980, a new library and science wing was added to the high school and the cafeteria and shop areas were enlarged.
The original 1955 Exeter Junior-Senior High School building was enveloped by the 1994 addition and renovation project. It included the complete renovation of the entire school with 33 carpeted, air-conditioned classrooms; a beautiful new 1,000 seat auditorium; a new gymnasium with seating for 1,200 persons; and an enlarged cafeteria. Two new parking areas and six tennis courts were also added to the campus. At that time, 705 students and over 50 faculty members were housed in the structure.
After the completion of a facility study in 2002 which clearly indicated the need for additional secondary classroom space and due to curricular needs, it was decided to move ninth grade to the senior high school as soon as another addition could be completed. In August of 2003 the third major construction project in close to 50 years began to add instructional space to the Senior High School. The enlarged school houses 31 new classrooms, a large-group-instruction room, new kitchen and cafeteria, new band room, new weight room, and additional computer labs. The project also included the complete renovation of Don Thomas Stadium with a new artificial-turf field and three new parking lots. The 2005-06 term began with Exeter Township Senior High School housing 1,350 students in grades nine through twelve and our 90 faculty members.