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Mars Area School District

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MASD History

1796 - The first log school, the Denny School, opened in Middlesex Township. The school was located on the Denny Farm and the first teacher was William Powell.

1805 - The first log school was built in Adams Township by Robert Hill. The school was sometimes referred to as the "Hill School."

1835 - A public schoolhouse in Middlesex Township was built when the Public School Act was enacted in 1835. The building was of log construction and the first supervisor (principal) was Thomas Denny. Prior to the passage of the Public School Act, school attendance was by subscription only.

1836 - The first public schoolhouse, the Callery School, was organized in Adams Township near Callery. The building was also of log construction. (After 1836, there are records of eight additional one-room schoolhouses in Adams Township: Orr's School, Myoma School, Forsythe School, Downieville School, Beers School, Conley School, Galbraith School, McMarlin School and Ludwig School. The actual construction dates of these schools are unknown.)

1848 - Samuel Hood taught at the first school in the Robbins Mill area

1866 (circa) - Six one-room schools were operating in Middlesex Township: Denny School, Fort Sumpter School, Sandy Hill School, Park School, Cunningham School and McFann School.

1866 - The two-room Glade Mill School was built in Middlesex Township, marking the creation of a new "school district."

1875 - The year marked the construction of six new school buildings in Middlesex Township. (These building projects were recorded through 1919.)

1892 - Mars Public School was built along Crowe Avenue in Mars.

1899 - The eight-room Mars Public School was used for the first time by students in first through 12th grades.

1902 - Construction began on a four-room brick structure along Crowe Avenue to replace the original Mars Public School building. The upper two rooms of the building, referred to as the "Bell Tower" School, were completed.

1904 - Enrollment in the school was approximately 181 students.

1906 - A new three-year high school program was introduced. The first high school class had 15 students.

1907 - The other two rooms of the school were completed.

1908 - A second "instructor" was hired at Mars Public School.

1909 - Mars Public School's first graduating class had one student.

1912 - First known "school board" minutes available.

1916 - Talks began about building a new "High School."

1918 - Mars High School was built along Crowe Avenue in Mars. The building had four classrooms, a science room, laboratory, a large auditorium and a library. The library was later converted to a classroom.

1920 - Five teachers were employed at Mars High School.

1922 - A departmental system was established, separating sixth through eighth grades from the upper grade levels. The first playground equipment was installed.

1925 - The one-room Fort Sumpter School was torn down and Park School closed.

1927 - The one-room McFann School was abandoned.

1928 - Middlesex "Consolidated" Elementary School was built in Middlesex Township. The original building had four rooms and one teacher. The first school buses were used to transport students.

1938 - An addition to Mars High School was dedicated on Feb. 18. The school's graduating class had 60 students.

1951 - Adams Elementary School was built in Adams Township. 1957 - An addition to Adams Elementary School was built.

1960 - Mars High School was renamed "Mars Area Joint Junior/Senior High School." Mars and Valencia boroughs joined with Adams and Middlesex townships to form "Mars Area School District."

1961 - A "new" Mars Area Junior/Senior High School opened along Route 228. The school opened to students in seventh through 12th grades. The former Mars High School along Crowe Avenue became "Mars Intermediate School" for students in fifth and sixth grades.

1971 - Mars Area Middle School opened to students in sixth through eighth grades, using an open classroom concept. Mars Area Junior/Senior High School now accommodated students in ninth through 12th grades and was referred to as "Mars Area High School." Mars Intermediate School along Crowe Avenue was renamed Mars Elementary School and accommodated students in first through fifth grades.

1974 - Mars Area School District introduced a kindergarten program. The original Mars Public "Bell Tower" School was renamed "Mars Area Kindergarten Center."

1979 - Mars Elementary School along Crowe Avenue was renovated to include a third floor and renamed "Mars Area Primary Center," housing students in kindergarten through second grades. Middlesex and Adams elementary schools accommodated students in third through fifth grades.

1983 - Mars Area Kindergarten Center was sold to a developer and converted into apartments (now Bell Tower Apartments).

1985 - Mars Area High School was expanded to include four (4) new classrooms. The office at Mars Area Primary Center along Crowe Avenue was converted to a kindergarten classroom.

1992 - Mars Area School District undertook major construction projects to expand Adams Elementary School and Mars Area High School; renovate Middlesex Elementary School; and move the District's Administration Office to Adams Elementary School. The project at Adams Elementary School included a library, multi-purpose room, computer room and upgraded kitchen/cafeteria. The Mars Area High School project included an expanded cafeteria and air conditioning.

1995 - Adams Elementary School was expanded to include seven new classrooms. Phase One of a renovation project at Mars Area Middle School began.

1998 - Approximately seven (7) new classrooms, a special education area and parking were added at Mars Area Middle School.

1999 - A renovation project at Mars Area High School added six new classrooms. Construction began on a new Mars Area Primary Center along Route 228.

2000 - The new "Mars Area Primary Center" opened along Route 228 behind Adams Elementary School. The old Mars Area Primary Center along Crowe Avenue closed and the property was sold to Woodland Valley Church.

2004 - Mars Area Primary Center switched buildings with Adams Elementary School. All students from Middlesex Elementary School are moved to the "new" Adams Elementary School, which was renamed "Mars Area Elementary School" and housed students in third through fifth grades. Mars Area High School opened a new addition opened. The addition included a 1,300-seat auditorium and seven (7) classrooms.

2007 - Mars Area Centennial School opens to students in fifth and sixth grades at the beginning of the 2007-2008 School Year. With the opening of the new school building, Mars Area Primary Center now accommodates students in kindergarten and first grade; Mars Area Elementary School, second through fourth grades; Mars Area Middle School, seventh and eighth grades; and Mars Area High School, ninth through 12th grades.

2009 - Construction begins on a $12.3 million expansion and renovation project at Mars Area High School. As part of the project, the rear wing of the school is removed and replaced with a two-story classroom wing and a new main office and guidance/nurse's suite are added. Interior spaces are renovated to provide for a new television/broadcast studio, computer room, large group instruction (LGI) room, and robotics and pre-engineering classrooms.

2010 - The newly renovated and expanded Mars Area High School opens to students in ninth through 12th grades at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. Mars Area school District welcomes a new assistant superintendent, Matthew Friedman, who replaced retired assistant superintendent Dr. Sharon Kamicker.

2011 - Work begins on expansion projects at Mars Area Elementary School and Mars Area Centennial School. The project at both schools included the addition of 12 new classrooms and expanded cafeteria/kitchen areas.

2012 - Work is completed expansion projects at Mars Area Elementary School and Mars Area Centennial School. Superintendent Dr. William G. Pettigrew announces his retirement after 26 years at Mars Area School District.

2013 - Mars Area School District welcomes Dr. James A. Budzilek as superintendent designate, pending superintendent Dr. William G. Pettigrew's retirement on Dec. 1. Dr. Budzilek officially takes his post a superintendent.

2014Dr. James A. Budzilek, superintendent, announces his resignation. Dr. William G. Pettigrew returns as acting superintendent pending the appointment of a new superintendent.

2015 - Richard Cornell, Mars Area Middle School principal, announces his retirement from public education. Mars Area School District welcomes Dr. Wesley W. Shipley as superintendent.