A look back at Smithfield High School in 1966

A look back at Smithfield High School in 1966

Here are some facts and figures from a dedication ceremony on May 1, 1966, for the new Smithfield High School building, according to a booklet from the event.

The project to build the new high school in the mid-1960s cost approximately $3 million.

On 59 acres and with floor space of approximately 144,000 square feet, the land purchase cost $97,082 and site development cost $191,084; fees for architects and engineers cost $167,282.

When it was first built, the facility included acoustical ceilings, fluorescent lighting, a regionalized fire alarm system, an intercommunication system to all rooms, and parking for 300 cars.

The building was designed to “facilitate the teaching of a student on a departmental basis” and included specialized areas of science, practical arts, business, and foreign languages.

“The building is designed for smooth flow of student traffic, effective light and sound, easy maintenance and eye appeal. Colors are gay and harmonious,” the booklet reads.

A list of major areas of the building includes the air-conditioned library, an auditorium with a seating capacity of 850, a cafeteria with seating for 600, a gym that could be divided into boys’ and girls’ gyms, classrooms for different subject areas, a music area, and a practical arts area with rooms for cooking, sewing, electricity-electronics, woodworking, drafting, power mechanics, and a metal shop.

The booklet listed 23 faculty members, Supt. John Boyle, Deputy Supt. Vincent Gallagher, and SHS principal Henry Shepard.

Boyle gave a welcome address followed by an invocation by Rev. J. Leo Lyons, then pastor of St. Michael’s Church, and a dedication address by Francis Horn, then president of the University of Rhode Island.

After the ceremony, members of the Smithfield High School student council gave tours of the new school facilities.

The booklet also listed William Garriepy, then Town Council President, and Paul W. O’Day, then School Committee chairman. The contractor for the high school construction was Molony & Rubien Construction Company, and the architect was Joseph M. Mosher Associates Inc.

A School Building Committee consisting of 18 men met 65 times from June 1963 to April 1966.