The community of Valley Springs has a rich and proud history of providing excellent schools for area students. In recent years some of the Valley Springs School District’s honors include:
From 2005-2007 Valley Springs School was given the Golden Apple Award for the top 10 academic schools in the state until the award was discontinued.
In 2009 Valley Springs High School was ranked as one of the state’s top two high schools for Advanced Placement performance.
In 2010 Valley Springs High School was named #6 in the state on schooldigger.com.
In 2011 Valley Springs Middle School was named #2 in the state on schooldigger.com.
In 2012 Valley Springs High School was named #6 in the state by U.S. News and World Report magazine.
VALLEY SPRINGS SCHOOL THROUGH THE YEARS
Education an early priority
Twin Springs, as Valley Springs was originally called, was so named because of the two springs that ran to the surface in this small Ozark valley. It may have been the source of fresh water that led the original families to settle here in the shadow of Boat Mountain. Not a great deal is known about the origin of the Valley Springs community, but what is clear is that the first citizens saw an important need for educating their young. It is apparent that the educational process has always been at the center of the community's interest. Soon after the Civil War, three learning academies were established in Boone County: Bellefonte, Rally Hill, and Valley Springs.
(Source: Boone County Historian, Vol. IV, No. II, 1981)
Valley Springs Academy
Around the turn of the century, great improvements were noted in the academy at Valley Springs, and it emerged as the leader of the three. In 1912, the North Arkansas Conference of Methodist Churches felt a need to establish a high school in the Ozarks. Valley Springs, with its academic background, was selected, and it became Valley Springs Training School. In 1922, the first organized high school was started in an old two-story frame structure on the south hill at Valley Springs. For a dormitory, the school used the old Dr. Hale home above the spring. The church bought a twelve acre campus and a farm of 160 acres on which the boys worked to help pay expenses. Part of this farm is now the present school system. This school was operated in the cooperative plan with expenses pro-rated among the students at the end of the month. Such expenses rarely exceeded $12.00 a month. The boys and girls were paid 15 cents an hour for their labor. The boys tended the garden and truck patches, while the girls washed, ironed and carried on other work and chores. The first year there were two graduates, the next year nine, and at the end of fourteen years, a total of 200 had received diplomas from this school.
Albright Hall constructed In 1924 Albright Hall was started. Due to lack of funds, progress on this building was slow. Also at this time, several one-room schools consolidated with the school at Valley Springs. Albright Hall was completed in 1927. It is a three-story gray stone building, which is still structurally sound and has been remodeled to make it more functional. It is being fully utilized with classrooms on all three levels. In 1937, the Methodist Church relinquished its claim to all the property, and Valley Springs Training School became the Valley Springs Consolidated School. In 1941, the main high school building was erected by WPA labor, and the white-frame building on the south hill was torn down. At the same time, a vocational building was being built, but it has now been replaced.
Old Main built by WPA in 1941The main building was built at a cost of approximately $40,000. This building is on the National Historic Register as an example of the Arts and Crafts period of architecture. Although the building remains the same on the outside, many changes have been made to accommodate the needs of a growing school system. This building contains eight classrooms in all with a high school library attached.
Volunteer labor builds first gymnasium
Due to the Recognition Act of 1948, Bellefonte, Everton, and Valley Springs School Districts consolidated, and Valley Springs served as the head campus for these three communities. In 1948-49, a new gymnasium was built at a cost of approximately $29,000. In addition to a seating capacity of 2,000, the school kitchens and lunchrooms were built under the east bleachers, with dressing rooms and restrooms under the west bleachers. Material for the gym were purchased from Camp Robinson near Little Rock. The school bought these buildings for $536.00, which included a mess hall, a latrine, a recreation hall and theater. One construction company asked $18,750 just to dismantle the buildings and move them to Valley Springs. This was too much, so men of the community, under the supervision of a former school board member, rode to Little Rock in a school bus, tore down the buildings and moved them to the school site at a cost of little more than $3000. The men lived in the school bus while doing the work. Under the same supervision and labor, the gym was started in 1948 and completed in 1949. Today, this gym is used for health, PE classes, athletics, cheerleading and some school assemblies. The basement areas are used for storage.
Valley Springs Elementary grew from 4 to 19 classrooms over the years
Valley Springs' elementary classrooms were built in several phases from 1959 to 2009. There are 19 elementary classrooms in grades K-4 plus many special classes such as art, computer, gifted and talented, guidance classes, library, music, physical education, resource and speech and language pathologist.
Administration building constructed in 1964
The present administration building was built in 1964. At that time, it housed business education and the superintendent's office. Currently, the superintendent and district bookkeeper and secretary are housed in this area.
Burleson field and new gymnasium
High school baseball and softball programs utilize Burleson Field. Built in 1967, it was one of the first lighted high school baseball fields in this area. There is also a summer program partially funded by United Way for children of all ages. The Valley Springs Booster Club recently fenced the field, purchased an electronic scoreboard, pitching machines, batting cadges and other equipment for the teams.
Another building phase completed in 1986. The "new" gymnasium was built, along with four junior high classrooms and a cafeteria. The new gymnasium is utilized by middle school and high school PE classes, Pee-Wee basketball programs, volley ball, and junior and senior high girls and boys basketball programs. It is also used for many school assemblies. There are six goals for practicing, four locker rooms and three coaches' offices. The gym lobby, which overlooks the courts, contains a built-in trophy case and concession stand. Three of Valley Springs' seven state championship banners hang on the wall.
Vocational-Fine Arts Building houses Agri, Family and Consumer Science, Business, Art, and Music Departments. In 1992, a Vocational-Fine Arts Building was constructed for high school. It contains the Agricultural Department, which is the second oldest in the state. This department consists of a five-acre farm with hay shed, a 30'x84' greenhouse, an arc welding area with a portable welding trailer, a power tools area, and a stock trailer. Also included is the Family and Consumer Science Department contains four fully equipped kitchens, sixteen sewing machines, three Serger sewing machines, one decorative embroider machine and a food science lab. The Business Department contains up-to-date technology with programs that teach keyboarding, desktop publishing, word processing and computer technology. The high school Music Department room has been acoustically designed with several sound proof individual practice rooms. Students begin band as early as fifth grade, which includes beginning junior high and high school band. Finally, the Jr. and Sr. High Art Department is located here as well. The art teacher and students have completed several community service projects such as painting murals at Boone County Special Services and Valley Springs City Hall.
Little Red School House preschool added
In the spring of 2000, Valley Springs School purchased three acres of land adjacent to the school and the former church building on that land was converted to a state-funded ABC preschool. There is also a Head Start program located behind the elementary school.
By spring of 2001, a new cafetorium was constructed that can accommodate 1,305 people for special events and 925 for dining.
New Middle School constructed
In 2003 the four junior high classrooms and old cafeteria located next to the gym were added on to and remodeled to house the Valley Springs Middle School. The middle school has 18 classrooms, a library, and offices.
The tradition of a rich history of educational excellence has been established and will continue to develop into the 21st century. New, innovative programs have been put into place and many are planned for the future. With capable educational leadership and community support, our school will continue to be the leading force in education in northwest Arkansas.
Special Thanks goes to the Valley Springs History Club for their research and Mrs. Sandra Trammell who wrote the school history section.