CVU – Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence


Champlain Valley Union High School has roots that go back in the history of the area for almost 17 years. Woven through the history and the various stages in the growth of the school: a suggestion in a superintendent’s report, school study committees, a five-town study, a two-town vote, a four-town vote, a three-town cote, and eventually the school bond issue for a new district. The existence of the building is a tribute to the community’s persistent striving for improved education, and the existence of the school district is the proof that this community will continue in its efforts for good education beyond the limits of any one school building.

Although much thinking and work had gone before, the first step in the final chain of events came in the spring of 1961 when study committees from Hinesburg, Richmond, Shelburne, and Williston met to discuss a Union High School. Their report and recommendation formed the basis for two votes in the spring of 1962 on the formation of a four-town union high school district. Both times the district was strongly supported by all towns except Richmond. Regretfully, Hinesburg, Shelburne, and Williston proceeded without Richmond. The three-town vote in June of 1962 brought about the formation of Union High School District No. 15. The District was formally organized in July. In September, Charlotte, which had long been involved in earlier area school studies, voted to join the District. In October, the District accepted Charlotte.

Plans for the building were prepared, and the vote on the bond issue was passed successfully on April 2, 1963. The architects proceeded with working drawings. In July, the Union High School was assigned to a Supervisory District, and the superintendent was hired. The contract for construction of the building was signed Dec. 10, 1963. The principal was hired in January, 1964. During the spring the superintendent and principal interviewed and hired the faculty, and the principal worked with the future students in preparation for the new school.

On Sept. 9, 1964 school opened on schedule with the main classroom building almost complete. The two other buildings were accepted on Feb. 8, 1965. All of these stages in the development and formation of Champlain Valley Union High School are now merely background. On Sept. 9 the school began to make a history of its own.

Building Facts

The Champlain Valley Union High School Board directed the architects to design a school with the following basic requirements:

A simple, practical structure without frills that would be economical to maintain and durable through the years.

A structure which would accommodate an initial student body of 750 pupils and would be easily expandable to accommodate 1,000 pupils at a later date.

A structure which, while remaining essentially conventional, would not rule out the use of any modern teaching method or technique.

The school building consists of three units connected by enclosed passageways. The total floor area is approximately 100,000 square feet. The construction is highly fire-resistant reinforced concrete. The foundation concrete was poured in place. The super-structure is constructed of precast concrete beams and slabs. All three units are two or more floors to provide a more compact building, reducing distances between classes. This arrangement is well suited to the site.

The main classroom structure is divided into three sections such that heating, lighting, and ventilating systems in each section can be operated separately.

The building is designed with as much flexibility as possible. Folding partitions provide adequate facilities for large and small group teaching without, in any way, hindering the use of present conventional classroom teaching methods. The building is designed with no interior bearing walls in order to permit relatively inexpensive alterations to accommodate any presently unforeseen changes in teaching methods.

The facilities shown will accommodate initial enrollment of 750 pupils with provision for expansion to 1,000 pupils. In order to make this possible, certain basic facilities have been made large enough for the total of 1,000 pupils. These facilities include the library, the cafeteria, the auditorium, administrative offices, physical education facilities and science laboratories. When space for 1,000 pupils becomes necessary, classroom space for 250 students may be added to the end of the main building. Although this means that the initial per pupil cost of the building is slightly higher, there will be considerable savings possible when expansion is necessary. Seating capacity of the building is as follows:

Auditorium: 498, Cafeteria: 300, Gymnasium Bleachers: 832, and Library: 110

The serving capacity of the kitchen is 750. Space is available for the additional equipment necessary to serve 1,000. Classrooms will accommodate 752 students.

In summary, this building is designed to house a modern comprehensive educational system which will provide for the full range of needs and talents of the individual students.