The Original Campus
In 1939 the 20+ acre campus at 17th and Hillcrest Drive was valued at $25,000. It was purchased from John H. Kane and C.E. Burlingame for $10,000, which was the most allowed by the federal Public Works Administration's regulations. Another depression-era federal agency, the Works Progress Administration, built a sandstone rock amphitheater along with four tennis courts and other athletic fields to the east in the area occupied today by Custer Field. The amphitheater had a built-up stage in the center surrounded by three rows of seats in an oval shape, and was reportedly located at the site of the new field house. A small brook meandered through the area and through the present-day Fine Arts Center, which at that time was a grove of trees.
Col-Hi's original design capacity was 800 students. The architect, John Duncan Forsyth, designed the building in the Streamline Moderne style, a late variant of Art Deco which peaked around this time. Forsyth had used the same style in his 1937 residence at 29th and Birmingham in Tulsa. Forsyth also was one of the architects for the 1937 Art Deco style Daniel Webster High School in Tulsa, which has many of the same interior architectural elements as BHS. Forsyth was also the lead architect for the magnificent Marland Mansion built in Ponca City from 1925-1928. The general contractor for the construction of College High was the Ray Construction Company of Coffeyville, Kansas.
Col-High's main building housed the auditorium and academic classes, and the field house or manual training building housed the band, orchestra, physical education, and industrial arts classes. The latter building was paid for by the Frank Phillips Foundation, and provided for some time the home court for the Phillips 66ers basketball team. The exterior of the buildings could have been brick, but a petition from 273 employees of the Dewey Portland Cement Company convinced the school board to build it of white-painted reinforced monolithic concrete. The white was offset by windows with cherokee red spandrels; that color is visible in photograph that opens this page.
The floors of the main building were marbleized asphalt tile, while the corridors had glazed tile wainscoting and terrazo stairwells. No two classrooms were alike, each arranged for a particular purpose with beautiful birch cabinets and built-ins. The building once had two fireplaces. One was in a recreation room lounge in the office area with several couches and chairs; that area is now home to the principal's and his secretary's offices. The other fireplace was across the corridor in an extensive "home-making" department, which was broken up into administrative offices after a new home-making department was built in the ground floor of the 1958 annex.
|$402,475.52||Construction, Classroom and Manual Training Buildings|
|26, 278.63||Architectural and Engineering Costs|
|1,755.01||Legal, Administrative, Preliminary Costs|
|10,050.00||Original 21.56 acre Site|
|14,782.80||Landscaping Grounds and Site Development|
|$214,855.00||Grant from Federal Government (PWA)|
|72,777.29||Cash from Building Fund Levies|
|55,000.00||Donation from The Frank Phillips Foundation, Inc.|
Next: Campus Additions