C. Norvell was the first Col-Hi principal. Some old traditions were
maintained, such as the Nautilus yearbook and the Peppers girls'
pep club. New traditions were also started, such as the "Deliberative
Committee" which would serve as the student government for
the next four decades. By 1946 Maurice W. Taylor was principal,
followed by G. M. Roberts and then Carl A. Ransbarger until 1954.
Students in these and subsequent years participated in long-lasting
clubs such as Hi-Y, Y-Teens, Service Club, Trade & Industrial
Club, and the B Club for lettered athletes. The B club sold Wildcat
stadium seats and ran the concession stands at games, using the
proceeds for an annual scholarship. New clubs in the late forties
and early fifties included the United Nation Youth, Future Homemakers
of America, United World Federalists, and Junior Red Cross. Foreign
language clubs thrived, including the Latin Club & Senate (which
later became the Junior Classical League), and the Spanish and French
Clubs (sometimes grouped as the Modern Languages Club). Driver's
education was first offered as an elective in 1949. Students participated
in such annual traditions as the homecoming parade and bonfire and
Sadie Hawkins Day.
began attending classes at Col-Hi in the fall of 1950, and the junior
college closed. John C. Haley moved up to principal in 1954, a position
he would hold until 1973. He had formerly served as teacher, counselor,
and vice-principal. In 1956 black students were finally welcomed
to Col-Hi from segregation's Douglass
High School. Jane Morrison was the first black student to attend
Col-Hi, with Principal Haley noting that Bartlesville was a leader
in the state in integration, with what he termed a smooth transition.
But Jane Morrison recalls racial taunts and how she was excluded
from the prom, the YWCA, and some restaurants during band trips
- it would take time for the most overt racism to be extinguished.
The baby boom was on and several additions were built to serve
the 1,000+ students on campus. The fifties brought such clubs as
the Future Teachers of America, Fashion Board, Future Nurses of
America, Key Club, Boys and Girls State, and various Science Clubs.
Bartlesville hosted the state Student Council convention in the
early 1950s, an honor that would not be repeated for forty years.
The late fifties and early sixties brought the Canteen, a popular
hang-out on Price Road for local youth. It was built and operated
by the Service League, and members taught card games and hosted
tournaments. The facility offered dances with live bands, and is
still in active use today after a large expansion project in 2000.
In the sixties, Col-Hi organizations included the Indian Club,
International Relations Club and American Field Service, Youth Court,
Medical Careers Club, Art Club, Math Club, Drafting Club, and several
business organizations such as Distributive Education Clubs of America,
Future Business Leaders of America, and the replacement of the old
T&I Club with Vocational Industrial Clubs of America. The baby
boom made for cramped conditions, with 1,985 students on campus
by 1964-65. Accommodating so many students required the use of four
portable buildings, and there were three different day schedules
starting at 7:30, 8:30, and 9:30 am. That led to the building of
across town, and began the long-time rivalry between the Col-Hi
Wildcats and the Sooner Spartans. Each school would burn the other's
mascot during pep rallies the night before their annual football
The seventies brought clubs focused on students' personal interests
and issues, such as Contemporary Music, Photography, Rodeo, Interracial
Relations, and Afro-Americans. Other additions were the Secretarial
Club and the John Baird Society; Baird's 1974 Calculus course was
the first Advanced Placement course at Col-Hi. The character of
the school was changing to keep up with the times. The traditional
pep club disbanded in 1971, and the "Wild Bunch", consisting
of boys and girls, was formed. Mr. Haley retired in 1973 and Jim
Morrel was principal for a year, followed by Col-Hi's final principal,
Dennis Pannell. Reportedly no proms were held in 1975 or 1976 due
to protests over a rule regarding who could attend and also supposedly
after a raucous assembly over changing a prom date to match a band's
schedule. The Alternative High School Program, which was located
at various sites, began in 1977. In the late 1990s, it would share
the former Col-Hi campus with the regular high school.
Talk and controversy about consolidating College and Sooner Highs
began as early as 1970 and a plan was discussed in 1973-74, but
no action was taken. Decreasing enrollments led to consolidation
proposals being revived in 1977 with formal committees on the issue
in 1978. A September, 1980 bond issue for renovations and additions,
which grew to include a swimming pool and gymnasium, was defeated
by a large margin. Shortly thereafter, the board of education voted
to consolidate the two high schools and re-establish Bartlesville
High School. The rivalry between the Col-Hi Wildcats and Sooner
Spartans ended with the establishment of the unified Bartlesville
Bruins in the fall of 1982. Freshmen and sophomores began attending
classes at the former Sooner
site, which was renamed Bartlesville Mid-High. Juniors and seniors
attended former College High, now back to being called Bartlesville
Ending the Century
Dennis Pannell's successor as principal was Ben West. The eighties
brought a short-lived Greenway environmental club; another Environmental
Club would begin in the 1990s. The Sadie Hawkins tradition was revived
in 1983 with the first Snowball dance. The shift to Bruins led the
Wild Bunch to become the Bru/Brew Crew, with many loud years of
packed basketball games in the old field house. Advanced Placement
course offerings expanded throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but there
was also a decrease in elective offerings as core course requirements
increased. In 1994, Bartlesville hosted the Oklahoma Student Council
state convention for the first time in forty years. In the 1990s
Ben West was succeeded as principal in turn by Bill Denton, then
Jim Sisney, and finally Dr. Debi Boyles in 1998.
2001: Building on Excellence
The twenty-first century opened with the most significant changes
to this facility since it was constructed. The community supported
a ten-year bond
issue that would spend over $23 million to build a new fine
arts center, field house, library, and science wing.
The first new principal for the twenty-first century was Jane Sears
in 2002, and Chuck McCauley assumed the post in 2005. The school
continued to rack up numerous awards of academic exellence, but
the number of clubs was diminishing as the new generations of students
were preoccupied with opportunities outside of school.
Col-Hi Wildcats were named after the oil industry's "wildcatters"
and wore black and gold for the "black gold" coming out
of the ground to build Bartlesville into what it is today. The high
school mascot had been the Yellow Jacket until 1924-25. Incidentally,
that was the same year Cecil "Lefty" Custer (as in Custer
Field) became the junior high football coach. He would later coach
the high school team for many years. The school's mascot, Willie
Wildcat, was a prominent part of school spirit. The College/Bartlesville
High School swim team is the undisputed leader in the state. As
of spring 2000, the boys and girls teams had earned 34 swimming
titles since the first boys title in 1948; the boys alone have earned
20 crowns, more than twice the number of the closest rival, Norman.
The sixties and seventies also saw powerhouse golf teams, with five
golf state championships between 1972 and 1979. The Wildcats were
state boys basketball champions in 1967, state baseball champs in
1969 and 1980, and took state in tennis in 1978, 1979, and 1982.
A boys' basketball game between Sooner and Col-Hi at the Adams Gym
tied a national record of seven overtimes in 1979. The Bru Crew
"pep club" began in 1985. The Bartlesville High School
Bruins have racked up numerous state championships,
including girls gymnastics in 1987, 1988, and 1989; boys basketball
in 1989, 1991, and 1992; girls cross-country in 1991 and 1993; boys
golf in 1984 and 1988; boys gymnastics in 1988; girls softball in
1982; and boys baseball in 1985.
The Original Campus
In 1939 the 20+ acre campus at 17th and Hillcrest Drive was valued
at $25,000. It was purchased from John H. Kane and C.E. Burlingame
for $10,000, which was the most allowed by the federal Public Works
Administration's regulations. Another depression-era federal agency,
the Works Progress Administration, built a sandstone rock amphitheater
along with four tennis courts and other athletic fields to the east
in the area occupied today by Custer Field. The amphitheater had
a built-up stage in the center surrounded by three rows of seats
in an oval shape, and was reportedly located at the site of the
new field house. A small brook meandered through the area and through
the present-day Fine Arts Center, which at that time was a grove
The original buildings were completed in December 1939 and dedicated
on March 10, 1940. There is a 1939
photo of the building facades. Col-Hi's original design
capacity was 800 students. The architect, John Duncan Forsyth, designed
the building in the Streamline
Moderne style, a late variant of Art Deco which peaked around
this time. Forsyth had used the same style in his 1937 residence
at 29th and Birmingham in Tulsa. Forsyth also was one of the architects
for the 1937 Art Deco style Daniel
Webster High School in Tulsa, which has many of the same interior
PWA architectural elements as BHS. Forsyth was also the lead architect
for the magnificent Marland
Mansion built in Ponca City from 1925-1928. The general contractor
for the construction of College High was the Ray Construction Company
of Coffeyville, Kansas.
building housed the auditorium
and academic classes, and the field
house or manual training building housed the band,
orchestra, physical education, and industrial arts classes. The
latter building was paid for by the Frank
Phillips Foundation, and provided for some time the
home court for the Phillips
66ers basketball team. The exterior of the buildings could have
been brick, but a petition from 273 employees of the Dewey
Portland Cement Company convinced the school board to build it of
white-painted reinforced monolithic concrete. The white was offset
by windows with cherokee red spandrels; that color is visible in
The floors of the main building were marbleized
asphalt tile, while the corridors had glazed
tile wainscoting and terrazo stairwells. No two classrooms
were alike, each arranged for a particular purpose with beautiful
birch cabinets and built-ins. The building once had
two fireplaces. One was in a recreation room lounge in the office
area with several couches and chairs; that area is now home to the
principal's and his secretary's offices. The other fireplace was
across the corridor in an extensive "home-making" department,
which was broken up into administrative offices after a new home-making
department was built in the ground floor of the 1958 annex.
|| Construction, Classroom and Manual Training Buildings
||Architectural and Engineering Costs
||Legal, Administrative, Preliminary Costs
||Original 21.56 acre Site
||Landscaping Grounds and Site Development
||Grant from Federal Government (PWA)
||Cash from Building Fund Levies
||Donation from The Frank Phillips Foundation, Inc.
By March, 1949 the campus was packed with 1,042 students
and bonds were voted to build a stadium and classroom addition.
The amphitheater and tennis courts, which had often flooded,
were covered with dirt hauled in from the downtown Phillips
complex (Adams Building site).
The building and campus have seen many changes over the years,
as summarized below:
||A track and field were constructed for $66,000. There is a
photo of the band out on the field. In that photo
you can see how the east side of the school looked before the
stadium, annex, and counseling suite were built.
||The stadium was constructed for $476,000, and built by the
Wickersham Construction Company of Tulsa. The project started
in May, 1953 with most funds coming from private sources. The
completion date slipped three months from May to August, 1954
and the three-floor 10-classroom stadium was dedicated on September
17, 1954. There is a 1955
photo of the stadium. The stadium also contained
a metal shop (now rooms S-1 and S-2), band room, and locker
rooms. Before the stadium band room was built, the old field
house had a stage that doubled as a band room - that area is
now the concession stand. Tiny rooms on various levels around
that area were once music practice rooms and are now coaches'
offices, lounges, and storage areas.
The football field was dedicated in memory of Coach Cecil "Lefty"
Custer, who came to Bartlesville in 1924 and was the head football
coach for many years. Custer had previously coached for a few
years in Augusta, Kansas and had pitched for the University
of Kansas baseball team for three years, and was also active
in football, track, and basketball; he passed away in 1953.
Prior to 1954, football games were held crosswise on the baseball
field at the Bartlesville Municipal Stadium (now Bill
Doenges Memorial Stadium).
||A new basement cafeteria was constructed for $94,583.
The cafeteria was originally across the hall from the library,
and served as an auxiliary reading room. It was moved to the
basement and the upper room became a study hall. That area was
the library reference room for many years and is now classrooms,
offices, and storage.
||The annex was constructed for $214,188.
This brought the confusing "3rd, 4th, and 5th floors",
with the "3rd" floor below-ground! The home economics
classes, which were on the first floor across from the office,
moved to a customized 3rd floor. The 4th floor included a skybridge
connecting the main building to the stadium. The 5th floor had
greenhouse which was used by environmental science
and business classes (which grew homecoming mums) until the
late 1970s. The annex originally had 11 classrooms and several
||There is a 1961
photograph of College High. Note the Cherokee Red
spandrels, which are now Bruin Blue. Also note that the flagpole
appears to have shifted off the tower onto the ground in the
foreground of the photograph. It would later return to the tower.
||Concession stands for the track and field were constructed
||An auxiliary cafeteria was added for $20,000.
This is a white metal building between the main building and
the stadium. It now houses classrooms. Four temporary classroom
buildings were placed on campus to handle student enrollment,
which peaked in 1964-65 at 1,985 students.
||There is a 1966
aerial photograph of College High. There are four
temporary buildings between the main building and field house.
||General renovations were performed, the counseling area was
added, and the small and auxiliary gyms were constructed for
The auxiliary gym was the wrestling room until the field house
machine and auto shops were closed, when it became the weight
room. A two-story addition to the back of the main building
provided room for air conditioning equipment as well as the
counseling suite (and what was once an audiovisual room). The
home economics area was moved from the first floor of the main
building to a remodeled "3rd floor" of the annex,
and the physics and chemistry labs in the main building were
renovated. All building exteriors were repainted.
||16 acres of land were added for $11,690.
This floodplain land included a pond and became the John
C. Haley Environmental Laboratory, used as an outdoor classroom
for environmental studies. Sometime in the early 1970s a Wildcat
tile mosaic was added to the floor of the main lobby.
||College High becomes Bartlesville High School, prompting a
variety of renovations:
- Parking was expanded by removing aisle rails in the south
parking lot and restriping the lot for right-angle instead
of slanted spaces; a new parking lot was built on the north
end of the campus and spaces were added along the alleyway
near the tennis courts. A metal bar along the Hillcrest
parking was removed and replaced by a large curb. All lots
were resurfaced by the K.C. Asphalt Company of Bartlesville.
- A ramp was added to the main entrance of the school.
- The exteriors of all of the buildings were repainted.
- The main gym floor was resurfaced and the field house
hall floors were retiled.
- A Bruin tile mosaic was added to the floor of the main
- Large raised lettering
reading COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL on the
exterior of the auditorium was removed.
||Flood damage of $52,033.
Three to four feet of water damaged rooms in the stadium and
field house due to a hundred-year flood of the Caney River.
||The cinder track around Custer Field was replaced with the
Doornbos Track, via a $150,000 donation from the
Doornbos family (Chuck's son Foster Doornbos & daughter
Ami Preston). Chuck was a track star in high school and at the
University of Kansas.
||General renovations costing $1,169,317.
North, south, and west exterior repainted and given new windows.
The 1968 gymnasium addition's exterior walls given a new sheathing.
photograph shows how the addition used to look
- can you spot the two dark vertical bands on the front of the
weight room? The roof was repaired, and many classrooms were
repainted and received lighting and climate control upgrades.
||Handicapped access was added to top floor of the annex by
constructing a hallway ramp atop the east side of the auditorium
||The library annex was partitioned to form a classroom and
other areas. Sinks were added to one of the chemistry labs.
||Bond issue passed to renovate the stadium exterior and boiler
and repaint its interior as well as repaint the east side of
the main building.
||East exterior of building repainted. Fume hood and gas outlet
additions to one annex science lab. Football field recrowned,
practice field resodded.
||Middle-floor windows in the stadium replaced. New hallway
created in field house to improve girls' basketball locker area.
Asbestos removed from field house hallway ceilings, and those
hallways given new ceiling, wall, and floor surfaces. New fume
hood in one of the main building's science labs. New data network
wiring and ports were installed in every classroom and office,
and a telephone system upgrade.
||Large ventilation fans installed in field house with $2,000
donation from Phillips Petroleum and $16,800 in district funds.
Additional electrical outlets and electrical panels added throughout
on Excellence Project
Over $23 million in improvements funded by a 2001 bond issue.
A new science wing, library, auditorium and fine arts classrooms,
field house, practice fields, and parking lots to be constructed,
and a multimillion dollar renovation of the existing structures.
||The district acquired the CrestView Apartments south of campus
(using funds outside of the bond issue) and razed the buildings.
The site was left undeveloped, intended for future parking as
funds become available.
||The new west & east parking lots, practice fields, and
the renovated Haley
Environmental Laboratory opened as Phase
One of the Building on Excellence project. The district
paid the city about $3,000 for a 5.15 acre parcel east of the
old Haley Lab to expand what remained of the original 16-acre
lab after much of it was used for the development of parking
and practice fields. The package also included a small plot
of land just east of the intersection of Shawnee Avenue and
18th Street, the former site of a sewage lift station.
The district allocated $120,520 from a 2000 bond issue to pay
for asbestos removal from the crawl spaces beneath the 1939
||The new 16,800 square foot Science Wing opened in August,
as part of Phase
Two of the Building on Excellence project. The facility
cost over $2 million and contains six labs with adjoining offices,
a student projects room, chemistry stockroom, as well as student
and faculty restrooms.
||The Chuck Doornbos Track (the original blue track surface
is visible in this photo
from August 2002 and in this aerial
photo from March 2002) will be renovated using
$233,000 in interest from the 2000 bond issue and a $33,000
donation from the Doornbos family (Chuck's daughter Ami Preston
& his granddaughters, including Darian Kedy & Dana Keirsey).
re-dedication took place at the 2004 Homecoming.
The old south gate of Custer Stadium was closed due to construction,
and a new gate
was constructed at the southeast corner of the football field.
Bruin is unveiled in the lobby shared by the
new Fine Arts Center and new Field House.
||The new Field House opened with the completion of Phase
Three of the Building on Excellence project.
Bartlesville Senior High
This page created by Granger
January 25, 2011