The Spirit of Sandpoint High School
The founders of Sandpoint knew that a healthy community needed excellent public schools if it was to attract residents and businesses. The first school was established in 1886 and was moved from building to building including the depot and a saloon, In 1894 a one room schoolhouse was built by the Farmin family, founders of Sandpoint. By 1915 it was decided that city needed a modern high school, and planning began.
Sandpoint High School opened in 1922. Designed by Whitehouse & Price Architects of Spokane, the three-story building included a 525-seat auditorium and an indoor running track overlooking the full size basketball court. The classes at the new school included English, Math, Science, Social Studies and Home Economics. In 1954 Sandpoint Senior High became the Sandpoint Junior High School\Ninth Grade Center as new school was constructed to accommodate the growing number of students.
Sandpoint residents showed their school spirit by supporting the football program that was started shortly after the school opened. At first the team dressed in red and white was called the Sandpoint High School Football team. During a practice in 1932 an old, toothless, white bulldog named “Pat” from the neighborhood started coming to the field to watch the team play. The team adopted the dog as their official team mascot and the name “Sandpoint Bulldogs” was born. Jerry Kramer, an offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers from 1958 to 1968 started his career as a Sandpoint Bulldog, graduating in 1954. Other notable graduates include humorist Patrick McManus, author of They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They?, and Marianne Love, author of Pocket Girdles and other Confessions of a Northwest Farm Girl, and her daily blog, Slight Detour.
During the 1970’s hundreds of students continued to walk the halls of this historical school, but the grand building was overcrowded and feeling its age. Plaster would rain down on students in the stairwells when they changed classes. The running track doors were chained for fear the track would crash down with the weight of everyone gathering there during lunch. Eventually in the 1980’s classes were moved to the Farmin Stidwell Middle School, the windows were boarded up and doors locked.
The old school was purchased by a private party in January 2000 and painstakingly remodeled to return her to her former glory. Today the old high school is home to several small businesses and the Sandpoint Events Center. The auditorium is available to rent for special meetings or events once again benefiting the community. Students, old and new, are welcome to roam the halls filled with memories of days gone by. The old Sandpoint High School lives on.