A Brief History of E.N. Peirce

  • E. N. Peirce Middle School is named after Elizabeth Nields Peirce.

    Born in 1885, Elizabeth Nields Peirce was a 1903 graduate of West Chester High School. After teaching at the Biddle Street Elementary School, she became principal of the Biddle Street and Auditorium elementary schools in 1918, and assistant principal of the new junior high school when it was organized in 1925. She continued to serve in these positions until her retirement in 1951. In 1965, the Biddle Street Elementary School was renamed the E.N. Peirce Elementary School. On October 24, 1977, the name was transferred to the (then) North Junior High School. And so, for that reason, there were actually two “E.N. Peirce Schools” in the West Chester Area School District until the E.N. Peirce Elementary School closed in June of 1978.

    The 26.68 acre site of E.N. Peirce (originally “North Junior High School”) on Burke Road was purchased by the school board in December 1959 with doors opening to students in September 1963. North Junior High School had a duplicate sister school, designed from the exact same architectural plans, known as “South Junior High School” until it was renamed in honor of former Superintendent G.A. Stetson.

    Due to the prohibitive cost of renovating and correcting design flaws, both the Peirce and Stetson Middle School buildings were razed and replaced with new construction in 1998. The existing gymnasium and some auxiliary areas of the older building were renovated and attached to the new buildings. L. Robert Kimball & Associates, Inc. Architects and Engineers was awarded the contract for both schools.

    Designed for a student population of 1,000 students, the total cost of the new Peirce building was $15.2 million. The building opened in September 1998 under the leadership of David Flamer. The school quickly became overcrowded, and a permanent two-classroom addition was added in 2002 with another two-classroom addition following in 2003. The cafeteria was expanded from a capacity of approximately 330 to a capacity of 400.