Tasha Fuson: The history of Carson High School

Since beginning my principalship of Carson High School this past August, I have met numerous staff and community members who love to reminisce about their days at Carson High.

They tell me what it was like to be a student at CHS when a street divided the A and B buildings and when students attended class in numerous portable classrooms while renovations were being completed to join the two buildings into one complex. I have heard stories of games being played at Carson Middle School because “the new school gymnasium hadn’t been built yet.” This has really been cool for me because I truly appreciate the rich history and traditions of Carson High School.

The most memorable experience for me was viewing a football jersey and cheer uniform from the 1920s with accompanying pictures that were found in a storage room at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School, which was a former site of Carson High School. What truly surprised me though, was how few people truly know the history of Carson High School. It is with that in mind I’d like to share with you a brief history of CHS compiled and written by CHS English teacher, Becky Rodina:

Carson High School is one of the oldest high schools in the state of Nevada. In 1871, citizens of Carson District recognized their duty to build an addition to an existing school house. They selected the school house closest to the center of Carson City as the site to be expanded. In 1874, $4,000 was appropriated through a tax levy, and Carson High School was officially started.

Carson High School, built on Division Street between King Street and Musser Street, like many state government buildings of the time, was constructed of stone from the Nevada State Prison Quarry. That school was demolished after a government entity, concerned with its proximity to an earthquake fault, determined that the structure could not withstand a significant tremor.

As Carson City grew, a need was recognized for a separate high school, which was built on Thompson Street in 1939. Two red brick buildings were erected; a classroom building and a gymnasium. These served as foundations for what is now Bordewich-Bray Elementary.

In 1969, Ormsby County was merged and consolidated into Carson City. As Carson City continued to grow, the community recognized a need for yet another larger site for Carson High School. In 1970, a bond was passed, a site on the east side of town was selected, and another facility was built which became the present home of the Senators.

Carson High School has seen several expansions and remodels since moving to its present location. The school was open for only a few years when it became overpopulated and was forced to go on double sessions to house the increased enrollment. A gymnasium was built with 12 additional classrooms to alleviate the overcrowding.

The currently-standing completed facility included enclosing the street that separated the two original main buildings, creating a large multipurpose area affectionately called, Senator Square. An additional two story building was added on the southwest side which became the administrative offices, housed on the first floor and the science labs on the second floor. In 1999, faced with the overcrowding again, the High Tech Center was constructed in conjunction with the Western Nevada College. This facility added an additional 12 classes and 6 computer labs. It also provided Carson High School with a unique opportunity to blend college classes with its own curriculum. NJROTC classes and a rifle range were built in 2002.

Since 2006, the renovations have continued on the Carson High School Campus to include eight tennis courts and a concession stand complete with restroom facilities. In 2007-2008 a contemporary vision for the updating and redevelopment of the Athletic Complex was instituted, allowing Carson High School to host regional, zone and state championships. In the summer of 2011, solar panels were built to the east of the main building. As of 2011, Carson High School’s Main building is 306,479 square feet and sits on 65 acres.

Tasha Fuson is principal of Carson High School.


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