History of Early High School Students and Reno High School

Students were first taught in the basement of the Alhambra Hall, located at the corner of First Street (previously named Front Street) and Virginia Streets, where the Mapes Hotel was built in 1947.
In 1868, the City Fathers decided to build a school house for the students of Reno and picked a lot on Sierra and First [Front] Street. The first school building was a one-room building and was finished in 1869.
In 1878, it was decided a new school needed to be built because the high school student population was growing and a separation from the lower classes was needed. The property located between 4th and 5th Streets and Arlington and West Streets was purchased. Plans were drawn up and construction was started.

Reno High School circa 1879
This first building would be known as a high school. In 1879, the school was finished and named “Central School” . The high school occupied the upper floors and the lower elementary classes were on the first floor. An addition was added later. Although the school was named “Central School”, it was sometimes referred to in newspaper articles as “Reno High School”. Around 1910, there was a fire in the chemistry lab and the city fathers decided to condemn the building and rebuild another school on the same property. “Central School” was torn down in 1911 and work commenced on the new high school. On December 2nd 1912, the students and faculty moved into the new “Reno High School”. This building was strictly for the high school population since two elementary schools “Orvis Ring School” and “McKinley Park School” had been built in 1909 and 1910.
Reno High School circa 1912

The 1912 “Reno High School” building was used until 1951, when it was renamed “Central Junior High,” and later, “Central Intermediate School.” It was an intermediate school until it closed in 1966. In 1967 there was an explosion and fire, and it was torn down in 1968. The Belvedere Towers now occupy that spot.

Reno High School circa 1951
The existing “Reno High School” was opened in September of 1951. The first graduating class from the existing “Reno High School” was the “Class of 1952”.
Reno High School and grounds, present day
Reno High School, present day (aerial view)
Reno High School, present day

In 1995, an alumni association was formed and the idea for an Alumni Building began taking place. The building construction started in August 1999 and finished in January of 2000.