The past 10 years have caused for a significant overhaul to the AHS campus; the photo slider below is mostly comprised of older areas of campus that are no longer standing.
May 8, 1979 proved to a disastrous one in Auburndale’s history. A tornado ripped through the town, from K-Ville through towards Lake Alfred, destroying everything in its path. The bulk of the damage to the local schools came when it tore the roof of the nearby Auburndale Middle School, at the time being used as a 7th grade center, condemning the buildings. This would eventually necessitate the building of Stambaugh Middle School five years later.
While Auburndale High School did not take a direct hit, it certainly felt a thrashing. View the gallery below to see damage around campus from that day.
To the right of the main entrance to the front office lays a white stone that tells a tale over a hundred years old.
The Auburndale Woman’s Club was instrumental in the new school being built located at the site where Stambaugh Middle School is now located. On September 8, 1915, the Woman’s Club laid a white granite cornerstone in the front corner of the school at the start of its construction. The cornerstone was sealed, with a metal box containing a “time capsule” of sorts inside of it. No date was set for it to be opened, but surely no one foresaw the school being destroyed by a tornado only sixty-four years later.
May 1979 saw a tornado cut through Auburndale, condemning the school, at the time known as Auburndale Middle School. Students at AMS went to double sessions at Auburndale Junior High School next door for the remainder of the school year, and then would spend the next few school years attending North Central Middle School in Lake Alfred until Stambaugh Middle was finished in 1984.
When the tornado necessitated that the school be demolished, contractors contacted the Polk County School Board and asked what to do about the white granite cornerstone set in the front wall of the 1915 building. The Superintendent at the time, Dr. Homer Addair, instructed the white cornerstone be preserved and given to the Auburndale Public Library. In 1980 this is exactly what happened. The cornerstone was opened, its contents inventoried and stored at the library.
The items stayed at the library until Auburndale High School’s administration building was constructed, starting in 1986. Upon its completion, some of the items were removed, but every club at AHS given the opportunity to add something to the box. Each submission or artifact had to be small enough to fit in a 35mm camera film container. The cornerstone was re-set to the right of the front door to the main office, which is where it has lived now for nearly 30 years.
During the summer of 2017, the artifacts that had been removed from the cornerstone years prior were discovered at AHS. For preservation, these documents and photographs were donated to the city of Auburndale in August 2017 for display at their Historic Museum at the Parks and Recreation office on West Park Street.
Then & Now
In the course of the school’s history, there have been a few different ‘welcome’ signs up around campus. See the slider below for some of their backstory and locations.
ROTC Rifle Range
ROTC Rifle Range
This, along with the 500s building, are the only buildings on campus that have been part of AHS since its inception at the current location. This building, with its smokestack, formerly housed locker rooms until the ROTC moved the rifle range in.
The Holbrook-Russell Agricultural Building was built in 2003, replacing the old Ag building nearby. It was named for Jack Russell, who taught Ag at AHS for 16 years, and William Holbrook, who taught for 25 years.
700s Hallway/ Math & Social Studies Building
The 700s building was completed in 2012, originally known as the Freshman Academy and housing freshmen teachers. It became the math (downstairs) and social studies (upstairs) building in 2015. The 700s building is built on the site of the original bus loop/band building, at the far south end of the school campus.