Kirkwood High School 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 Rd. 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, where Nipher Middle School stands today.
The present school building on West Essex Ave. was built in 1955 on a 47-acre, seven building, college-style campus, and Kirkwood High School welcomed both white and African-American students to attend school together. Building improvements from a 1993 tax/bond issue included the Thomas N. Keating Performance Center, a fine arts complex that features an 821-seat theater, band, art and vocal music classrooms. The privately funded Walker Commons enclosed the theater lobby area connecting the Center to the main campus.
Thanks to community support of Proposition I in April 2005, the new science center opened in August 2007. The science facility was designed to reflect current research and best practices in science education. The two-story structure measures 51,000 square feet and features 15 combined science classrooms/laboratories, five each for chemistry, biology and physics. Each classroom/laboratory averages about 1,500 square feet and is designed to facilitate the movement of students from discussion to hands-on activities. The district is also pleased to have the support of the Kirkwood School District Foundation, which volunteered to raise $1.6 million dollars in private funds to ensure students had immediate access to the science equipment and technology needed to mirror the recommendations in the National Science Foundation report to Congress.
Also part of Prop I, construction of a new regulation-size gymnasium and renovation of the existing physical education facility was completed in time for the 2008 school year. Prop I also funded a variety of infrastructure improvements at KHS including installation of a new fire alarm and sprinkler system as well as a decentralized heating and cooling system.
Fall of 2010 brought a revived field for football, soccer and track & field as we unveiled our new track and turf field.
In 2014, KHS opened a completely redesigned journalism workspace. Combining The Kirkwood Call, Pioneer Yearbook and KHTV for the first time, KHS journalism is prepared to soar to new heights.
The 2015-16 school year brought the opening of the Walker Natatorium in the gym complex. Funded by one of the largest private donations ever made to a public school, students now enjoy classes and sports held in the pool.
Kirkwood has a long history of excellence. Each year brings new innovations that will propel our students into successful futures.