The history of the Batesville Community School Corporation dates back to shortly after the completion of the Batesville town plat in 1852. In the 1850s, a log school building was erected at the corner of South and West (now Sycamore) Streets. Shortly thereafter, the building was succeeded by a small frame building with one room.
The small frame building was moved across the street in the 1870s to be used as a dwelling and the public school system used a part of Union Hall, built by Sebastian Messersmith in 1865, until erecting a two-story brick building in 1875. This brick schoolhouse contained four rooms: two upstairs and two on the ground floor with a wide hallway from front to back. (photo 1)
In March 1888, the school system’s board of directors made the decision to construct an addition onto the schoolhouse at a cost of $1,500. Based upon continued population growth, a second school building was erected at the corner of Mulberry and Pearl Street in 1895-96. (photo 2) The total cost of the new school was $5,700 – $5,000 for the building and $700 for the purchase of the land. At this time, high school consisted of two years and Batesville High School’s first commencement ceremonies were held in 1901.
In 1910, Batesville High School (BHS) became an accredited four-year program. In 1910-11, the new building was remodeled in order to include BHS as a four-year high school. As the town grew and needs changed, the school system constructed a new stand-alone high school at the corner of Mulberry and Columbus Avenue in 1926-27 at a cost of $56,000. (photo 3) The site for the high school was given by the late George M. Hillenbrand and included enough ground for tennis courts, a track, and a large playground.
With the construction of the new high school, the need vanished for a school as large as the two-story one built in 1875 on the corner of South and Sycamore Streets. There was a need, however, for a smaller building to house first and second grade students. Since no better site was available, the two-story structure was razed and a new one-story school, the Ward Building, was erected.
The Batesville public school system extended its area and, in the early 1930s began using school buses to bring students in from Laughery, Adams, and Ray townships as tuition students. Student enrollment continued to grow and this necessitated the addition of more buildings to the main campus along Mulberry Street. In 1938, a gymnasium was built between the elementary and high school buildings. (photo 4) Westwood Elementary School (now Batesville Intermediate School) was constructed in 1957 on the southwest corner of the campus, and a new wing was added just a few years later in 1961. (photo 5)
In 1963, the Batesville school system became known as the metropolitan school district (M.S.D.) of Batesville. This consolidation incorporated the Batesville City Schools with the elementary schools of Hamburg, St. Mary’s, and Oldenburg. The M.S.D. of Batesville became the Batesville Community School Corporation on January 1, 1965, based on a recommendation by the Ripley County School Reorganization Committee. Approximately eight square miles of northwest Adams Township were added to the school district at that time. In 1966, an addition to Oldenburg Elementary School was completed, which made it possible to add a second kindergarten program to the corporation and bring in students from St. Mary’s and Hamburg.
In 1967, it again became necessary for the Batesville Community School Corporation to expand and build a new high school. Ground was broken on a sixty-acre plot at the corner of Huntersville Road and State Road 46 for a $3 million building. The new high school was designed to accommodate 600 pupils in grades 7-12 and included a 650-seat auditorium and 3,200-seat gymnasium. The new high school opened for classes in the fall of 1968. (photo 6)
In 1973, plans were initiated to construct a middle school to educate students in grades 6-8. The building was erected on the previous high school site on Mulberry Street at a cost of $1.2 million. The new middle school was able to accommodate 600 pupils and the first classes were held in the fall of 1975. (photo 7)
With Batesville’s population ever growing, another new building was needed by the early 1990s. In 1991, Batesville Primary School, a grades K-3 building, was completed and the historic Oldenburg Elementary School was closed. (photo 8) Students who had previously attended Oldenburg began going to either Batesville Primary School for grades K-3 (photo 9) or the newly named Batesville Intermediate School for grades 4-5. A gymnasium was added to the intermediate school.
By the end of the 1990s, student enrollment numbers had begun pushing the capacities of both Batesville Middle School and Batesville High School. The enrollment demands resulted in a $12 million project to add spaces to both buildings between 1998 and 2000. These spaces included additional classrooms in both buildings, as well as a new gymnasium at the middle school and expanded music areas at the high school.
In 2011-12, the Batesville Community School Corporation again addressed the needs of its students by adding 50,000 square feet to Batesville Intermediate School (BIS) and renovating instructional areas at Batesville High School. The two-story addition at BIS allowed the school to become a grades 3-5 building (photo 10) and the primary school to provide for full-day kindergarten with the realization of additional space.
A $10 million bond issue in 2016 funded improvements to arts and athletic facilities at Batesville High School. Approximately 50,000 square feet of new space was added, including a fieldhouse, weight room, wrestling room, four athletic locker rooms, public restrooms, and auditorium support spaces. Additionally, existing spaces were renovated to update and enhance the auditorium and lobby areas, as well as creating a Student Commons area that would also become the main after-hours event entry. (photos 11-13)
In 2019, work began on a small addition to Batesville Middle School (BMS), as well as renovation work at both BMS and BHS. The addition of roughly 10,000 square feet connected the main classroom building to the stand-alone, 1937 gymnasium, and included circulation space, new administrative areas, and highlighted by expanded music spaces separated from the academic wing. Other improvements at BMS included mechanical upgrades and new interior finishes. Renovations at Batesville High School consisted of a major remodel of the cafeteria (photo 14), a new HVAC controls system, a major roofing system replacement, and updating interior spaces.
In 2021, the first phase of improvements to BHS outdoor athletic facilities began. Focusing on the football & track facility, this $4 million project includes major renovation of the locker room building, installation of a synthetic turf football field, resurfacing of the running track, and enhancements to spectator amenities (bleachers, pressbox, lights, sound, etc.)