West Elementary was constructed by the J.D. Mullican Construction Company in 1964-65. It was built on the twelve acre site of the old McMinnville Country Club golf course. The Mayor of McMinnville was Franklin P. Blue. Mayor Blue’s Board of Alderman consisted of: J.C. Myers, president; Aaron Durham, Charles Keplinger, Sam Martin, Jr., J. C. Panter, and Nestor Stewart. On the McMinnville City Board of Education was J.W. Anderson, chairman, Norman Post, secretary, Franklin H. Brown, Bill Martin, Hugh Milraney and Clarence Warren.
The $600,000 construction cost was funded by a bond issue with repayment to take place over a period of 25 years.
West Elementary opened in the fall of 1965 with an enrollment of seven hundred students of grades one through five. In 1971-72, West Elementary was changed to a first and second grade school which made it a feeder school to William Biles Elementary, a third and fourth grade school.
On December 30, 1976, the Board of Education agreed plans should proceed toward construction of a new kindergarten center near West Elementary. On January 17, 1977, the board of Education approved Upper Cumberland Construction Company’s bid of $225,800 to build the kindergarten wing adjoining West Elementary. In May of 1977, the colors, carpet and tile were approved as presented to the Board of Education. In October of 1977, the kindergarten center opened as a part of West Elementary.
In 1991, a gymnasium and recreation facility was completed for an indoor physical education program. The gymnasium also serves as an assembly area for school programs.
The Board of Education converted West Elementary to a Kindergarten through fifth grade in 1995. The Primary Multi-age program was implemented in the fall of 1995. Eight classrooms were set up to accommodate six, seven, and eight year old students which were equivalent to first, second, and third grades. The traditional classrooms for these grades were maintained as well.
An Intermediate Multi-age program was started in the fall of 1996. This program offered a continuum of the multi-age classroom for the students in the third, fourth, and fifth grade students. In 1997, the program was redesigned to accommodate third and fourth grade students. The fifth grade was then designed to follow a traditional classroom path.
West presently has twenty-six traditional classrooms. There is one Pre-K classroom, five kindergarten and first grade classrooms, four each of second, third, and fourth, and three fifth grade classrooms.
The Extended Day Program of the Warren County Schools began at West Elementary in April, 1989 with an enrollment of two students. The program now enrolls around 20 students. Enrollment in the Extended Day Program is offered after school from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. each weekday, and all day care at any time the schools are not open in the summer months. The Extended Care Program provides students with a snack, supervision of homework preparation, supervised games and recreation, visits from community resource persons, and activities suited to the ages and interests of students in the program. The program utilizes the cafeteria, playroom, and playground at the school, as well as the Jungle Jym and City Pool located at the Civic Center which is adjacent to the school grounds.
Parent participation has long been active at West Elementary. The PTA and the PTO have both been in operation at the school. Because of obligation of dues to the National PTA, West decided to form its own PTO program which allowed independent supervision within the school. The PTO became autonomous upon its conversion from the PTA program. Many programs have been developed by the PTO members to assist students in whatever way is needed as well as active participation in local community projects. During the year activities are developed by the parents to raise money to purchase necessary items and help with the equipment for the classrooms and playgrounds. Parents volunteer in each classroom to assist the teachers with activities and offer assistance to students that are in need.
The Food Service Program is an essential part of the students’ development and achievement. The program includes breakfast and lunch for all students. Food services are provided in a pleasant, sanitary atmosphere. The school became a Silver Medal Award Winner in 2009 because of the many healthy changes in the food served. West was awarded the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant by the USDA in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015 due to the high number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
Special Needs programs at West Elementary meet the needs of those students who qualify in specific areas. Speech, physical, and occupation therapy plus Special Education resource classes accommodate many students that qualify for this assistance. We also offer Response To Intervention (RTI) which is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavioral needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom.
West also serves 50-60 students four days a week after school with a grant funded program called AIM. These students receive a snack, homework help, and enrichment.
Because of its central location within the city, West Elementary has been involved with city and community activities. Parents and citizens of our community are always welcomed at West Elementary. Principals that have served West Elementary are:
Harry Copenhaver 1965-1972
Keith Hollingsworth 1972-1981
John Brock 1981-1985
Bryan Knight 1985-1989
Bob Mason 1989-1990
Troy Jones 1989-2003
Marsha Newman 2003-2013
Michelle Lewis 2013-