Chandler High School – known for getting second looks for its striking pillars and old-fashioned charm – has a piece of the national spotlight.
Architectural Digest named it the “most beautiful public high school” in Arizona. The magazine recently chose the “most beautiful” public high schools in every state in a variety of architectural styles, including Gothic and Art Deco, historic and modern.
The magazine said Chandler High, which is at 350 N. Arizona Ave., has a “blend of Colonial Revival and Spanish Revival styles.”
The distinction is an honor, Chandler High Principal Larry Rother said.
“Honestly, it’s a beautiful school and Old Main, our centerpiece building, was built in 1922,” Rother said. “Just walking by it on Arizona Avenue, you can tell it stands out. It’s definitely something we take a lot of pride in. There is really no other high school in Arizona like it. Everyone knows our pillars in the front. Kids take pictures of it. They’re proud to have graduated from Chandler High.”
Chandler High opened in 1914, and the “Home of the Wolves” had a 91 percent graduation rate in the 2014-15 year, according to its report card on the Arizona Department of Education website. The school has earned the A+ School of Excellence honor from the Arizona Educational Foundation several times and has received other state and national recognition.
Rother said he often sees students at graduation take photos of themselves by Chandler High.
“We’re proud of it and it’s a focal point in our community,” he said.
As the school grew, additions were added to Old Main and other buildings were constructed around campus, Rother said. The old gym on campus was built in 1939 and has an old honeycomb dome roof, he added.
In California, Torrance High School was named the “most beautiful.” Many of its buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings on campus include a 1917 Mediterranean Revival main structure and the 1937 Streamline Moderne-type auditorium.
The school was a location for movies and TV shows including “Bruce Almighty,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Beverly Hills, 90210,” the magazine reported.
While many of the schools on the list are older, Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Volcano Vista High School, a modern structure, took the top spot in that state with it rust-colored obelisk guards in earthy colors at the school’s entrance, the magazine said.
Sin City captured the magazine’s attention. The “most beautiful” public high school in Nevada was Las Vegas Academy of the Arts in Las Vegas. The campus features two Art Deco buildings from the city’s first high school, constructed in the 1930s.
Chandler High recently built a marquee and private donor courtyard in the colors and style of the 1922 Old Main building so it “all blends together just great,” Rother said.
“I was a history teacher so…preserving the history of our community is so important,” he said. “I’m just blessed to work in a school district that values that, and it is truly a symbolic structure in our community for academic excellence.”
More information: cusd80.com/chs.