Every community has them from time-to-time; sometimes it is easier than others, nonetheless, growing pains can cause stress, anguish and stretch the creativity of those in leadership, until a long-term solution can be implemented.
The Troy School District’s Board of Education found themselves in such a position in the 1950s and 1960s. Troy was experiencing an unprecedented growth in population and, of course, along with that was growth in school age young people.
Early on, the board recognized some of the growth indicators and began to prepare, then present to the community the need for new buildings. In the 1940s, they constructed a new Forest Elementary School. In 1950-51, they razed the old Kyle Elementary School and built the present structure, and in 1958, the new Troy High School was completed and opened.
One of the temporary solutions the board utilized was shifting some of its student population to various locations, or purchasing a temporary building for educational purposes. For example, when the area known as Highland Park had a large number of elementary students living in the housing, but would have overcrowded Heywood Elementary if sent there, the school board purchased a building and appointed educators to teach the young people at “Highland Park Elementary School,” a temporary school in the system. There was another temporary school in the Troy system, which many do not remember.
Culbertson Heights was one of the earliest additions to Troy after 1900. It was a small development encompassed by Indiana Street on the west, Ohio Street on the east, Staunton Road on the south, and Miami Street on the north. It was named for Troy attorney and businessman Charles H. Culbertson, who had grown up in that area and had also owned the land on which the development was situated.
The children who lived in Culbertson Heights in 1950s mostly attended Edwards Elementary School (where the present Troy-Miami County Public Library is located) for their education. As a result of some of the increase in numbers, Edwards was beginning to feel the pinch of overcrowding, as were several of the other schools. But Culbertson Heights was not large enough to warrant its own building. So, the board still needed to decide what to do for those students.
When the new Troy High School was completed, the northeast wing of the school building, near the cafeteria, was designated as the Culbertson Heights Elementary School (wing). A 1955 “Troy High School Citizen’s Committee” brochure stated one of the purposes of the new building would be nine dedicated classrooms for Culbertson Heights students. It is unknown to me if the growth outpaced the board’s planning, or if, ultimately, this was seen as a temporary fix to a larger problem.
But the growth issue did not dissipate because Troy continued to experience profound growth. In the area of Culbertson Heights, a new subdivision also began to expand. Meadowlawn became one of the largest and fast-growing new developments in Troy. Meanwhile, the high school population was quickly expanding, in part because the Concord District students were now attending high school in Troy, in addition to the general population boom.
After several years, the Culbertson Heights students were shifted back to Edwards and to a refurbished Old Forest School. The new Forest had been constructed on the south side of the school lot, near E. Canal St. The old Forest School building, which was still standing at the north end of the lot, was used as temporary answer.
Ultimately, Cookson Elementary School was constructed as a more permanent solution to the growth and development on the north side of Troy. The Culbertson Heights students finally had a new and more permanent educational home. Therefore, Culbertson Heights Elementary School was a short term school in the Troy system.
In addition, a familiar face was there to guide the students along. Douglas A. Campbell became the new principal of Cookson Elementary School when it opened in 1963-64.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org