|Chicopee High School|
Chicopee High School
|School district||Chicopee Public Schools|
|Color(s)||Maroon and Gold|
|Website||CHS website CHS Library Website|
Chicopee High School (CHS) is a public high school located in Chicopee, Massachusetts, United States. It serves students in grades 9 through 12. Its official school colors are maroon and gold. Its mascot is the "Pacer."
CHS was the third high school in Chicopee. Until 1896, two smaller high schools served Chicopee and Chicopee Falls. These were replaced by Central High School which opened in 1890 and served as the only high school until it was destroyed by fire in January 1916. The Taylor School in Chicopee Falls served as a temporary high school until 1921.
To be located at 650 Front Street, construction on a new Chicopee High School began in 1917 on land once occupied by the Assumption Church which itself had been destroyed by fire in 1912. Construction on the $1 million school was delayed by World War I, and CHS finally opened in September 1921. It was built in the collegiate style and faced with tapestry brick. Situated on a hill, its large front lawn featured the "keys of knowledge" outlined in shrubs. A small park and a memorial to Chicopee residents who died in World War I was constructed on an adjacent parcel.
CHS featured an auditorium that seated 1000 people and the first gymnasium in any Chicopee school. The Chicopee Trade School occupied a wing of the new CHS. In 1957 a new gymnasium complex was added, featuring a basketball court and pool. The gym was later named after a former principal Henry B. Fay. The old gymnasium was converted into a cafeteria, the balcony of which was nicknamed "Baby Heaven" and was used for suspended students. Another location that earned an enduring nickname was "Cats Alley," a windowless hallway on the second floor that ran between the gymnasium and the auditorium.
With the Baby Boom, the student population of CHS swelled to over 3,000 students. Several temporary classrooms were constructed in the land behind the school and triple sessions had to be instituted. This severe overcrowding forced the city to construct a second high school. In 1962 the new Chicopee Comprehensive High School opened in the Aldenville section of town. As a vocational school, CCHS absorbed the functions of the old Chicopee Trade School
Between 1975 and 1977 the aging high school underwent extensive renovations. These included a new library built above the auditorium and new classrooms built off "Cats Ally" above the old gymnasium. For two school years most students were relocated to schools at Westover Air Force Base and 9th graders to the old Michael J Kirby Junior High School.
The athletic complex at Szot Park has been the location of many great athletic events. Huge crowds are attracted by CHS football games. A Thanksgiving game between CHS and Holyoke High School several years ago attracted over 10,000 people. The crowds at these athletic events are much smaller now, but occasionally reach 3,000 or more.
The traditional rivalry between CHS and Holyoke on Thanksgiving are alternated. Odd years they play at CHS, and even years at Holyoke High. Many years ago, the Thanksgiving game was not held on Thanksgiving, but on Saturday afternoons.
Groundbreaking for the new State-of-the-art Chicopee High School took place on the grounds of the old Chicopee Municipal Home on Front Street in the Spring of 2002. Completion was in early 2004. The new CHS officially opened to students August 31, 2004. Dedication ceremonies were held in September 2004.
The new high school has four floors, a pre-kindergarten program, a gymnasium, library, band room, and video publications area. It hosts up to 3000 students.