As the end draws near for McCormick Middle School, it’s fitting to look back at its history.
The building has become a maze of classrooms over the years — you sometimes have to walk upstairs to get down, but navigating the many different levels is something familiar and still beloved to many Wellington residents and alumni.
The school today is nothing like it was at inception. Here’s a brief look at how McCormick evolved over the years:
• 1867-68: Union School is built and all grades are housed at the building. President Abraham Lincoln has been assassinated and President Andrew Johnson is our country’s leader.
• 1880: The first of many additions is built.
• 1916: A comprehensive plan is initiated and the original Wellington High School is constructed (long before it bears the name McCormick).
• 1939: An auditorium, a gymnasium, and several classrooms are added. This part of the building is where grades four, five, and six were housed in recent years.
• 1950s: The Brighton school district and a portion of the Pittsfield district are consolidated into the Wellington system.
• 1953: The school is again englarged to handle the influx of students. This part of the building is where grades seven and eight were housed most recently.
• 1959: Enrollment climbs and Westwood Elementary School is constructed. The core of the old South Main Street school dating back to 1867 now houses the district’s central offices for superintendent and other administration and the building’s cafeteria.
• Late 1960s: The current Wellington High School is built on the North Main Street Wenner farm. The South Main Street school became known simply as “the middle school.”
• 1964: Principal Ray McCormick dies. The middle school is named in memory of this stern, beloved alumnus, coach, former teacher, and principal.
• 2000s: Welcome to the new Millennium. Discussions about the future of school buildings abound; local debate rages about whether to build a school complex or separate buildings.
• 2012: McCormick is ranked by state officials as one of 15 Ohio schools most in need of replacement.
• 2013: Groundbreaking for the new McCormick Middle School.
• Dec. 8 2015: The doors of the new McCormick Middle School open for 440 students grades four to eight.
• Dec. 14, 2015: The old McCormick Middle School is slated for demolition to begin . Asbestos abatement is expected to take eight to 10 weeks.
Sources: Spirit of ‘76 Museum historians, Enterprise archives, “Then & Now” by Ernie Henes (1983).
Photos courtesy of the Spirit of ‘76 Museum The old Union School, circa 1870, two or three years after its initial construction.