Kirkwood High School (KHS) has a long, rich history that dates back to the founding of the Kirkwood School District in 1865. High school and elementary students attended school together in a temporary building, which opened in the fall of 1866, and later in the Jefferson Avenue school, the District’s first formal school built in 1869. African-American students attended the Booker T. Washington School, which opened in 1869 on Adams near Geyer Road. In 1888, the district built the Adams Avenue School next to the Jefferson School and offered a two-year high school program for students completing the elementary grades. In 1896, Kirkwood offered the first four-year high school program in St. Louis County; 10 students were members of the first graduating class in the spring of 1897. In 1922, a new high school was built on Kirkwood Road, the site of Nipher Middle School today.
The present Kirkwood High School on Essex Ave. was built in 1955 on a 43-acre campus. Both white and African-American students were enrolled to attend high school together for the first time. The present day campus includes the Thomas N. Keating Performance Center, the Earl and Myrtle Walker Science Center, a physical education and sports center, which features two competitive gyms (Denver Miller Gym and the David Holley Assembly Hall), the David Damerall Fitness Center, a dance studio, health classrooms, and a wrestling room. Also, recent updates have been made to the Journalism, Band & Innovation classroom spaces including updated technology and additional square footage.
With support from citizens and private donors through the Kirkwood School District Foundation, a new track and synthetic turf were installed in KHS E.L. Lyons Memorial Stadium in 2010. In spring 2012, the new track was dedicated as the Alvin Miller Track in honor of the 1983 KHS graduate, who is regarded as the best athlete in school history. In the fall of 2014, renovations to the stadium bleachers were completed; the renovations include accessibility for the physically challenged, new restrooms, concession and broadcast center.
The Walker Natatorium, which was funded by a grant from the Earl E. and Myrtle E. Walker Foundation, opened in the fall of 2015 on the KHS campus. For the first time in school history, KHS students have the opportunity to learn to swim as part of the physical education curriculum, and our aquatic teams have a home where they can practice and compete. The Kirkwood School District Foundation launched a campaign to raise $3 million to establish a Legacy Fund and use the interest earned from the fund for general operational costs for the pool such as utilities, water testing and balancing and equipment inspections. To date, more than $1 million has been raised. In future years, the funds may be used for equipment repairs and replacement.
Work is currently underway at KHS thanks to the support of the community for Prop R. Construction will result in 15 new classrooms, enclosed connection corridors to increase safety and security, and a new main office.
Kirkwood High School was one of eight Missouri schools to earn a 2022 National Blue Ribbon Award. The recognition is based on a school's overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
KHS is proud to be an exciting learning community of committed students and staff.