- Last Updated: 06 September 2016 06 September 2016
Construction of Washington High School began in 1904, after Central School in Sioux Falls was outgrown. Upon completion in 1908, it was renamed from Sioux Falls High School to Washington High School. Three hundred twenty-eight high school students marched into the new building on February 14, 1908.
The students soon outgrew the building. With a high school population of 536 in 1911, the enrollment exceeded the maximum capacity of 500. With the addition of a new South Wing to Washington High in 1922, the enrollment grew from 959 in 1921 to 1,660 in 1930.
The district approved the remodeling of the North Wing in 1932, and in 1935, the center unit of Washington High School was completed. Following this remodeling, the exterior of Washington High School stood from 1935 until the current Washington High School was completed in 1992.
All Sioux Falls high school students attended Washington from 1908 through the 1963-1964 school year. Washington's enrollment grew to 2,925 during the 1963-1964 year. The building's recommended capacity was 2,100. To solve overcrowding; the district began construction on Lincoln High School, a second high school located on Cliff Avenue next to Interstate 229. For about six weeks, in the fall of 1965, 3,300 students attended classes in a split schedule. Following some delays, Lincoln High School opened on October 19,1965 with 1,300 students.
In the fall of 1992, 1,439 Washington High School students attended classes in the current Washington High School. Since then, WHS has continued its legacy of excellence that dates back to the turn of the century. Washington High School currently serves 2,060 students with 120 teachers, 5 counselors, 18 education assistants, 44 support staff and 4 administrators.
The Sioux Falls School District continues to grow and is currently serving 20,750 students in preschool through twelfth grade. Washington High School is located in the northeast quadrant of Sioux Falls. Washington High School has the highest population of free and reduced lunch students, special education, and English Language Learners of the three public high schools.
Thanks to WHS teacher Deb Merxbauer for providing this history.