The BH-BL Central School District has a nearly 100-year history of stability and excellence in education and of residents and staff working together. In fact, the district began when local residents grew tired of paying tuition and railroad fares for their children to attend high schools in nearby towns and decided to build their own high school.
1915: Three one-room schools join to form the “Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Union Free School District,” New York state’s first “consolidated” school district.
1916: The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School of Agriculture & Homemaking opens on Lakehill Road on the site of the current Stevens Elementary School.
1920: The first high school graduation ceremony is held for two pupils.
1925-62: Gradually 14 more one-room schools join the BH-BL centralized district.
1930-31: The front section of the original Lakehill Road school burns and is rebuilt.
1951: Our first specifically elementary school, Pashley, is built on Pashley Road. With the post-war baby boom, the community is growing so fast that the new school cannot handle the elementary enrollment, and many children continue to attend one-room schools.
1955: The BH-BL High School is built, and the original Lakehill Road school is converted to the Ballston Lake Elementary School
1958: The Glenhaven and Charlton Heights Elementary Schools are built on Cypress Drive and Stage Road, respectively, using the same design and floor plans to save money.
1961: The new Junior High opens, the third district school to be built on Lakehill Road.
1962-69: Additions are built onto all six district schools to handle the still-growing enrollment.
1967: Ballston Lake Elementary is renamed the Francis L. Stevens Elementary School to honor its longtime school principal and the district’s first Superintendent of Schools.
1970: District enrollment reaches a peak of 5,467 pupils.
1981: Glenhaven Elementary is closed due to declining enrollment. The district administrative offices and several tenants move into Glenhaven, and the former administration building is sold.
1985: 9th grades classes are moved from the Junior High to the High School.
1988: 6th grade classes are moved from the elementary schools to the Junior High, and that building is converted to the BH-BL Middle School for grades 6-8.
1994: The Middle School is renamed the Richard H. O’Rourke Middle School to honor Dr. O’Rourke upon his retirement after 25 years as the superintendent of schools.
2004: The Glenhaven Building is renamed the Hostetter Administration & Leadership Center to honor retiring superintendent Bill Hostetter. Former Assistant Superintendent James Schultz is hired as Superintendent.
2006: After serving on the Board of Education for more than 30 years, Robert Speck is honored when fellow board members vote to name the new library media center at O’Rourke Middle School the Robert Speck Library Media Center.
2009: A water main breaks at the Hostetter Leadership Building, causing extensive damage to the district offices. Minimal repairs are done to make the building useful in the short term. The Board of Education agrees to a long-term plan to seek a buyer for the building and to relocate the district offices elsewhere when possible.
2012: Superintendent James Schultz retires and the Board of Education names the high school library the Schultz Library Media Center in recognition of his 41-year career at BH-BL. Patrick McGrath is hired as the district’s sixth chief administrator since 1938.
2014: Residents approve a $34.2 million renovations referendum, Building Our 2nd Century, to upgrade and modernize district facilities. This includes adding a high-tech STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) wing at the high school; constructing a multi-purpose turf athletic field and 8-lane competitive track at the high school; transforming the current high school library into a modern Learning Commons; relocating the district offices to the high school; renovating the parking/drop off area and main offices/security vestibules at the middle school and Stevens Elementary School; and upgrading and renovating portions of all schools.
September 22, 2015: The BH-BL School District Officially turns 100 years old!
October 10, 2015: School leaders host a centennial ceremony and homecoming football game on the newly constructed multi-purpose athletic field. The yearlong celebration included many opportunities for students and community members to learn more about the district through musical and dramatic performances, historical showcases, academic projects and much more.
2017: The district hosts a Grand Opening Ceremony for the high school’s new STEAM wing which added modern classrooms and laboratories for hands-on work in such areas as advanced manufacturing, industrial engineering, robotics, electronics, computer science, graphic design, applied math, 2-D and 3-D art, computer-aided design, and digital music.
October 23, 2018: BH-BL residents overwhelming approved the $34 million Building Our 2nd Century II Capital Project vote 1369 to 603, passing rate of 69%. With 1,974 votes cast, this is the second highest voter turnout in BH-BL history. (There were 2024 voters cast for the 2013 Capital Project.) The projects are a continuation of improvements that began in 2013 and include the Continuation of 21st-Century Learning Needs, O’Rourke Middle School Safety & Security and Classroom Improvements, High School Auditorium Renovation andCritical Infrastructure Improvements Districtwide, including a New Transportation Building.
Since the mid-1980’s, enrollment in the district’s five schools has remained remarkably steady, hovering between 3,300 to 3,500 total pupils annually.
Today, the school district typically serves between 3,100 and 3,200 pupils, including more than two dozen students placed full time in BOCES, vocational or special education schools.
The district’s three elementary schools range in enrollment from 400 to 500 pupils each. All three elementary schools serve grades K-5.
Serving grades 6, 7 and 8, the O’Rourke Middle School has approximately 790 pupils, and the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School serves some 1,170 students in grades 9-12.