The very first school in Berlin was a log building, built in 1777 by the Lutheran and Reformed congregations. It was known as the Union School and was located near the old Reformed Cemetery. As time went on, many more buildings were built and utilized as schools. Berlin accepted the public school system in 1836 and a public school was built on the southwest corner of South and Diamond Streets. Public school terms were gradually lengthened until 1920, when it was extended to nine months. In 1924 Berlin had a four year high school course with thirty students graduating. In 1936-37 the present high school was built on East Main Street, with students gradually being added from the outlying areas such as Allegheny, Brothersvalley, Fairhope and Northampton Townships as well as New Baltimore Borough.
With numerous additions and renovations, the school continued to meet the education needs of the district until, in the early 1990's a major renovation was undertaken. A new chorus room and band room were added along with several new classrooms. A new gym floor was also added. In the 1991-92 school year the student population grew to its largest size of 1227 students. In 1999 a middle school consisting of grades five through eight, was formed in a wing of the new elementary school, with the middle school having its own principal and guidance counselor.
In 2003 a three-phase, twelve million dollar construction project began. this was brought about as a result of a district wide study that indicated a need for structural improvements and renovations to an aging complex, as well as the need to bring the school into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its accessibility standards.
Phase I included a new elementary parking lot, a new wheelchair lift for the elementary school, a personal care room for handicapped students, an ADA ramp for the high school gym, new bleachers with handicapped seating and a complete renovation of the football bleachers, press box and concession stand.
Phase II began in April of 2004 and included secure entrances ad new elementary offices, a new nurses suite and renovations to the ventilation systems in all buildings The brickwork and windows in the original 1936 school were completely redone as well as a number of new doors and new elevator service to all floors of the high school. A respite area for special needs children was also added.
Phase III of the project began in April 2005. It included a new, state of the art kitchen, new cafeteria/gymnasium, new computer labs, new restrooms, middle school locker rooms, an office suite, band and chorus rooms, new tech-ed and vocational classrooms and a new shop area/greenhouse. A life skills apartment was installed for independent living instruction. There were many other newly renovated and/or relocated areas included in this phase, most notably to the auditorium, biology lab, a health/drivers ed area, family/consumer science classroom and a number of additions to the athletic department. Plumbing, heating, ventilation and electrical systems were also updated. This phase of the project also saw the demolition of the "tunnel" which originally linked the elementary school to the high school.
With the remaining funds from this three-phase project, it was decided to install a track for our track team who until this time did not have a home track. The track, along with renovations to the baseball field, was completed in the summer of 2008.
The Berlin Brothersvalley School district is a very important part of this area and continues to excel in educating the areas' students with state of the art computer equipment, modern, secure facilities, well educated, caring teachers and a competent administrative team and board of directors.
Article written by Cathy Webreck taken from "Berlin Borough and Brothersvalley Township-2009", published under the auspices of the Berlin Area Historical Society.