Perry Township Schools
Perry Township is rich in history, and we are fortunate to live in a community that cares so deeply about its school corporation. The Perry Township Education Center is a wonderful example of the commitment this township has in preserving its heritage.
As many of you know, the center is a result of a project started in 2001 to preserve the historic structure of the former Southport High School. The building was scheduled to be torn down but residents intervened.
A community task force worked diligently to have the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Private donations were used to offset some of the restoration costs. The education center bears a tribute to Charles Everette “Chick” Orme, who spearheaded the initiative.
On November 4, 2001, a dedication ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated building and its community center.
The 1930 building replaced the SHS at Madison Avenue and Southport Road and was used as a high school for 28 years. The exterior was styled after the main building at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
In 1958 the new high school opened just down the road at 971 E. Banta Road. The center was then transformed into a junior high for Grades 6, 7 and 8.
Perry Township continued to grow, and the junior high was transformed into a building for freshmen. Then the facility served as Southport Middle School until 1988, when the building was closed. It was reopened in 1994 as alternative school.
Three preschool classes opened in the building in August 2011. A rapid expansion of the preschool program, which boasts more than 200 children, was accommodated by moving the alternative school to the James Whitcomb Riley School.
Today, the center is a busy place. It houses offices, a preschool (The presence of children helps keep us focused on meeting the needs of the students in the twp.) and a community center that’s open from 6 a.m.-9 p.m.
The facility serves as the hub for all the district’s administrative functions. Departmental functions include payroll, Title 1, English learner program, business, technology, food, nursing and student services, human resources, staff/curriculum development, public relations and special education. It serves almost 2,000 employees and 15,000 students.
Offices are on the first floor for the Perry Township/Southport Historical Society, alumni of Southport and Perry Meridian high schools and the PTA.
Meetings in the evenings feature groups like the historical society and the Greater Southside Business Alliance. It is truly a center filled with activity in the evenings.
We are proud to be a part of the long, cherished history of Perry Township
A special thanks goes to Howard Smulevitz, who assisted with the historical data for this article.