San Jose High School began in a room above Orbon’s flour store at 210 South First Street in 1863. A new $20,000 building, located on Santa Clara Street between 6th and 7th streets in what was subsequently called Horace Mann School, opened on January 1, 1868. After 1898, it was moved to a $75,000 brick and stone three-story building located on Washington Square, but on April 18, 1906, it was destroyed by the San Francisco earthquake. For the following two years, classes were held in the Lincoln School building on Almaden Avenue. It was reported in the October “Bell” that space was so tight that the girls had to stop wearing fluffy starched skirts because of the jam on the stairways. In 1908, it presided on San Fernando Street, San Jose State University’s present location, until the state of California evicted SJHS in 1951 because of the expanding San Jose State College and the growth of higher education. The state that had given SJHS permission, by act of the State Legislature, to build on the state college land, withdrew its hospitality and ordered the school torn down. From 1952 to the present, SJHS has been located at 24th and Julian. The original school subsequent to renovations in later years cost over $2,500,000. In 1952, the original building was selected by the Museum of Modern Art in NYC as one of the forty-three outstanding buildings of the postwar period. In December of 1955, construction began on the music building, room 60. A major addition to the school program was the $137,000 swimming pool that was first used on Tuesday, September 29, 1959. Two new wings, the 70’s and 80’s, of ten rooms opened in September of 1961. A full-dress stage was also added to the cafeteria in 1961. As a result of the Federal desegregation order of December, 1985, San Jose High School was renamed San Jose High Academy, becoming a district magnet school with a focus on academic excellence, technology, and personalized education. Specialized programs such as the International Baccalaureate and Aviation/Aerospace were added with the IB program still in place to this day. Since 1999, the school also has offered the IB Middle Years Program. In 1990, SJHA was selected as a California Distinguished High School. A new state-of-the-art Career Technology Engineering building was opened for classes in September of 2010. The new 13,000-square-foot facility houses both the Engineering program and the Project Lead the Way Pre-engineering Program.
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