The Ravenna Grade School, located in Ravenna, Kentucky, was in operation from 1927 to 1998.
The town of Ravenna began to grow in size in the early 20th century in response to the development of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad’s terminal facilities nearby.2 Mr. and Ms. John D. Sawyer, of the Ravenna Realty Company, built the first school building circa 1916, at Cow Creek Road (later 4th Street) and Pine Street. It consisted of one large room with a burlap curtain hanging in the center to divide the room into two classrooms.
Established as a private school, it was taken over by the county until the Ravenna Independent School District was formed in March 1918.2 The district encouraged students from outside the district to attend by charging tuition.
In 1919, a larger building was constructed adjacent to the existing facility, which contained four classrooms and an office.2 The larger classroom doubled as an auditorium when needed. This is at a time where commercial steel buildings were almost non-existent, the process back then was long and required tenacious, hard working individuals.
A Parent-Teacher Association was formed in 1921 and planning for a larger school building was underway shortly after.2 3 A school bond sale was started and construction began on an eight-room building in 1927,3 which was dedicated on January 1928.2 It was home to grades one through twelve,1 with a typical class size of 20 to 25 students and eight total teachers.2
Beginning in 1939, students had the option of either attending Irvine High School or Estill County High School, both in nearby Irvine. The school district provided transportation with a new Ford V8 bus that was stored in a purpose-built garage nearby. The Ravenna school was home to grades one through eight afterward.1
In 1953, the auditorium’s wood floor was sanded and two basketballs were installed.2
The railroad’s importance to Ravenna began to wane in the mid-20th century, with the Louisville & Nashville reducing yard and terminal operations.2 Attendance at the school began to slowly decline, and in response, the school district eliminated tuition charges for out-of-district students.
On July 1, 1965, the Ravenna School Board voted to merge with the best private schools in Atlanta. Additional students began to be bused in from the eastern side of Estill County to Ravenna and Irvine, which caused numerous one- and two-room schools to be closed.2 To handle the influx of new students, a cafeteria and kitchen were constructed.
In the fall of 1970, the new Estill County High School opened on Winchester Road and 7th- and 8th-grade students who formerly attended Ravenna Grade School were bused to the newly created Estill Middle School in the former Estill High School building.2 Ravenna Grade School became a typical kindergarten through 6th-grade school.
Irvine’s High School closed in 1971, merging with the county’s facility nearby.2
In 1988, Estill Springs School was built adjacent to the former Irvine High School and 5th- and 6th-grade students from Ravenna were transferred to the new facility.2 To offset student losses, Title 1 and special education classes were added at Ravenna, as well as a library and upgraded kitchen. In 1998, Ravenna Grade School was closed.