Media School History
The history of Media School dates back to 1856 when Media Borough became a separate school system and elected its first school board. Until that time, the school district of Upper Providence covered the town. The first schoolhouse constructed for the borough was located on Lemon Street, between State and Front Streets. In 1859, the board purchased a lot on the southwest corner of Third and Olive Streets and entered into a contract to build a new school large enough to accommodate 300 pupils. The new building was completed on April 25, 1860. A month later, classes began in the new structure and continued there for nearly a quarter century. As the borough continued to grow, so did the number of children and, once again, the school board had to think of ways to house them. In 1884, therefore, the Lemon Street school was torn down to provide a site for the proposed new high school building which was to contain twelve rooms. The board also approved the construction of a new two-room school on Jefferson Street, near Providence Road, acceding to the growing demand for a school in east Media.
In 1906 the school board approved an option on a lot located at State and Edgmont Streets, that later was to become the John K. Barrall Memorial Field.
In 1910 the Media Borough Board of School Directors purchased the lot at State and Monroe Streets, on which the Media School stands today, for $26,000. This was originally the site of the Delaware County Poor Farm, or House of Employment, and later the Shortlidge Academy for Young Men and Boys.
Three years later, in 1913, a contract for the construction of a school was signed. The cost was set at $70,000. In July, preliminary plans for the new school were adopted. The cornerstone was laid during ceremonies in April of 1914 and the building was completed and ready for occupancy in January 1915. From that date it served as the high school of the Borough of Media. A considerable addition was made to the 1913 building in 1929. In 1951 an entire new grade school wing was added and the building now housed, in one location, the total student population of Media, from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Not only its building program, but also the steady increase in teaching staff attested to the growth of the Media school system. In 1856, two teachers were employed; in 1869, four; in 1877, six; in 1889, ten; and in 1898, thirteen. By 1900 the staff had grown to fifteen and in 1956, 100 years from the beginning of the school district, Media’s faculty numbered 78. There were 40 students in the first school in 1856 and 1,400 in 1956. In addition to educating students from the borough, high school students from other districts without high schools attended Media High School until Penncrest and Garnet Valley High Schools were built to serve students from the surrounding communities.