Classic Campus Photos

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.

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1979 Tornado

Gym after tornado
The gym with a foot of water standing in it following the tornado.

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.

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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 lays the cornerstone at the original 1915 school building.

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.

The 1915 school in Auburndale. The cornerstone can be prominently seen in the lower right-hand corner of the picture.
The school, after the 1979 tornado tore the roof off.









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 contents of the cornerstone upon its opening in 1980. Click to enlarge.
Among the things in the box were a batch of photos; this list describes them. Click to enlarge.











Present location of the cornerstone

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.

Jake White, Cody McGhee
L to R: Jake White (AHS History compiler), Cody McGhee (Auburndale Parks and Rec Director)
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Then & Now

Parking Lot; 1980 & present
Pep rally; 1983 & present
PE locker rooms (now rifle range); 1953 & Present
Back of former woodshop (current TV productions); 2010 & present
Teacher work room in front office; 1991 & present
Science classroom in North Campus; 1981 & present
North Campus (AJHS); 1973 & present
Bus pickup loop; 2010 & present
Administration building; 1989 & present
Yearbook room; 1999 & present
Inside former woodshop (when it was the temporary media center); 2010 & present
Center court, AHS gym; 1970 & present
The road that ran through campus; 1994 & present
Between HDTV & the ROTC rifle range; 1999 & present
View of courtyard in front of the gym; 1970 & present
North Campus back hallway; 1981 & present
Looking from site of 700s toward main office; 1965 & present
Construction of woodshop (HDTV); 1983 & present (extension built onto building in 2012)
ROTC rifle range (formerly heat plant); 1957 & present
N20s hallway in North Campus; 1989 & present
Entrance to girls’ locker room; 1968 & present
Mural in North Campus; 1981 & present
ROTC classroom (former band room); 1988 & present
Front office, 1989 & present
AHS Stadium; 1965 & present
Rifle range at left, after destruction of 40s hall (but before current 400s building built); 2010 & present
Front of North Campus; 2008 & present
Old Dust Bowl location (behind 500s building); 1957 & present
Selling tickets in the AHS Stadium; 1963 & present
AHS sign in the front of school; 1965 & present
Entrance to guidance office; 1991 & present
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Campus Signs

This sign, on Lake Ariana Blvd, was donated by nearby Barnett Bank in March 1973. Since the school was off the lake, out-of-towners were having difficulty finding AHS.


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.

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ROTC Rifle Range

ROTC rifle range
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.

PE locker room construction
Construction of the PE locker rooms with the 500s building in the background, 1953.
PE locker rooms, 1965
The building in 1965


Students sit on top of the heating plant attached to the PE locker rooms, 1970
Students sit atop the back of the heating plant, 1970
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Ag. Building

Ag Building

Ag. Building

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.

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700s Hallway/ Math & Social Studies Building

700s Building
Original bus loop
Original bus loop at the far south end of campus, 1957
Original band building, 1979
The interior of the original band building, 1979

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.

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