History

ImageThe idea for a school on the west side of Evansville came from the Centennial Club, led by Mrs. C. F. Werner, who fought a genteel, but determined, battle with the reluctant school board. The ladies said the Evansville High School (old Central) was too far away to be financially practical for many west side families. After four years of crusading, the Centennial Club won. The new school was named in honor of Mr. Francis Joseph Reitz, Evansville's leading banker and civic benefactor, who was instrumental in the sale of bonds to finance the west side school.
 
In September 1918 a two-story and basement building of brick and stone classic design was open. In 1921, the first year in which Reitz High School was fully accredited by North Central Association, the 10,000-seat Reitz Stadium was completed. In 1926, a four-story classroom building was added to the west end of the building. In 1956, an addition of a new office wing, nurse's suite, counselors' offices, home economics kitchen, dining rooms, sewing rooms, print shop, band and choir rooms, library, and study hall was added. In 1957, a five-story classroom wing, a second gym, seating more than 3,000, department offices, teachers' lounges, industrial shops, a new auditorium, a new cafeteria, and new restrooms were added. In 1973, a new greenhouse was completed. In 1977, a driving range on Barker Avenue was added to accommodate the Driver's Education Department.

The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation owns the land on which the range is located. Less than 10 years ago Reitz was known as the oldest high school building in Evansville. It was a hodgepodge of corridors, floors, and rooms from additions over the years, and Reitz was still the smallest high school in the area and had the smallest cafeteria. Finally the school board opted for renovation and after more than $26 million, Reitz celebrated its 80th anniversary in 1998 with a whole new look that makes it the largest and most advanced high school structure in Evansville.