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District History

The 1950s

At its founding in 1954, the District merged the many schools serving Elizabethtown Borough, Mount Joy Township, and West Donegal Township into a single unified public education system known as the Elizabethtown Area School District. Neighboring Conoy Township joined the newly incorporated District in 1955. A 22-member board of directors and a supervising principal governed the District in its early years. Dr. Galen C. Kilhefner was the District's first supervising principal.

The EASD began acquiring land in the mid-1950s to build new school facilities to accommodate the new District and its growing population. Dr. Troy Thompson donated 25 acres of land along East High Street. The school district would later purchase an adjoining 20 acres of land from Dr. Thompson. By 1957, the District had built three elementary schools across the community (Fairview, Mill Road, and Rheems) and built a new junior-senior high school serving students in grades 7-12 on the East High Street property.

The first graduating class of the new high school consisted of 115 students in 1958. The fifties also saw the introduction of interscholastic sports to the District. Male sports included football, basketball, baseball, and wrestling, while females competed in field hockey and tennis. Captivating the community during the decade was the 1957-1958 undefeated, untied football team.

The 1960s

By the early sixties, student enrollment at the junior-senior high school had nearly doubled and now totaled more than 1,200 students. Another milestone occurred during the decade when the District appointed Mr. Phillip Daubert as its first-ever superintendent in 1967. Mr. Daubert would serve the District as its superintendent until his retirement in 1987.

The 1970s

As the community moved into the seventies, the need to expand its facilities again was at the forefront. In 1975, the junior-senior high school expanded to include a new middle school. Upon its completion, the District's elementary schools served students in grades K-5, middle school served students in grades 6-8, and high school served students in grades 9-12. The seventies saw growth in enrollment and school facilities and the addition of many new athletic programs. The District offered eighteen interscholastic sports and had its first state championship team - the 1974 field hockey team - coached by the legendary Jane Hoover.

As the seventies ended, total enrollment in the District exceeded 3,000 students. Over the first quarter-century, the District had evolved to have five elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school that served the community's students. Success in interscholastic sports continued in the eighties. The field hockey team claimed the district III title, the football team captured a section title, and the baseball team won county and district championships. By the end of the decade, the District offered twenty sports programs – basketball (boys and girls), cheerleading, cross country (boys and girls), field hockey, football, golf (boys), rifle (boys), soccer (boys), softball, swimming (boys and girls), tennis (boys and girls), track and field (boys and girls), volleyball (girls) and wrestling.

The 1990s

The nineties were a decade of growth both in student enrollment and building projects. By the decade's close, the total student population approached 4,000 students. Graduating classes hovered around 250 students. The District also saw some of its largest class sizes, with the middle school bursting at the seams with enrollment totaling nearly 1,000 students. To accommodate the student population, the District renovated the secondary school complex and added a sizable addition. The District also renovated all five of its elementary schools.

The 2010s

Construction on a new school building - Bear Creek School - began in 2009. Upon its opening in the fall of 2012, the Bear Creek School served students district-wide in grades 4-6. In 2012, an expanded East High Street Elementary re-opened with a total school capacity of over 550 students. Coinciding with the Bear Creek School's opening and improvements to East High Street Elementary, the Elizabethtown Area School District Board of School Directors approved the second phase of its redistricting plan for the four primary elementary schools in May 2012. The approval completed a two-year process of redrawing new school attendance boundaries. As part of the school improvement projects and redistricting, Fairview Elementary closed permanently at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

In the Fall of 2013, the District's multi-year campus improvement project opened to include a new parking lot; upgrades to seating and lighting, artificial turf installation at Jane Hoover Field; an improved Thompson Field entrance; and the new Shaw Foundation Tennis Courts. The Elizabethtown Area Education Foundation's Investing in Our Children, Our Community, Our Future Capital Campaign raised a significant portion of the funds needed to pay for the projects through private donations. As a result, Jane Hoover Field now serves as the Bears' home field for field hockey, boys/girls soccer, and boys/girls lacrosse.

Renovation of Bainbridge Elementary School began in June 2017, with the school re-opening to students in August 2018. The new facility is approximately 46,000-square-feet and offers bright learning spaces; classrooms that connect for collaborative learning; a cafeteria that is separate from the gymnasium; an outdoor learning space; a new playground designed by former students; flexible furnishings; technology to support student learning; and reconstructed bus and parent drop off points. At its re-opening, approximately 200 students in grades K-3 attended the school.

The 2020s

In the Fall of 2021, renovations to the lower level of the middle school, which began in June 2020, were finished for the start of school in August 2021. The opening of the new level allowed for sixth grade to return to the middle school, with third grade subsequently shifting to the Bear Creek School. The middle school building project included the addition of classrooms, restrooms, and handicap accessibility to increase capacity at the secondary school complex. In May 2022, Mill Road and Rheems Elementary Schools closed their doors permanently.

Present-day Elizabethtown Area School District serves around 3,800 students. The District has two primary elementary schools serving grades K-2 (Bainbridge and East High Street), an intermediate elementary school serving grades 3-5 (Bear Creek School), and a secondary school complex comprised of a middle school (grades 6-8) and a high school (grades 9-12).