When Broad Run High School opened in 1969, a year late, it was still unfinished. With no cafeteria, students ate lunch in classrooms.
"1968 was supposed to be our first year at Broad Run High School," said Superintendent Edgar Hatrick, who was the school's first assistant principal. "But it just didn't happen. The building wasn't even close to being done."
The high school, the county's third and eastern Loudoun's first, was located along Ashburn Road in the middle of a field. Middle of nowhere, really.
"Oh, how this building has changed since 1969," Hatrick said at a rededication ceremony for the school on April 11.
The school, which was built for $1.5 million, has been renovated three times. This $17 million renovation, paid through a voter-approved bond referendum, allowed for the construction of a new gym, enlarged art facilities including a darkroom, an early childhood education room with an on-site preschool program, new dressing rooms in the drama department and two new wings including two new computer labs and nine improved or new classrooms. The old gym is now a weight room, girls locker room and office space.
And every bathroom was expanded and improved.
"We have some lovely bathrooms," said principal Ed Markley. "That's a big deal compared to what we had before."
THE REDEDICATION ceremony featured several attendees like Hatrick who have been part of Broad Run since its opening 36 years ago.
Dolores Plant, who chaired the rededication ceremony committee, has been with the school as a substitute teacher since its opening.
She explained it this way, borrowing a line from "West Side Story." "When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way," she said. "At Broad Run, we feel the same way, only we call ourselves Spartans."
Plant was joined by several other teachers who have been on the roster for decades at Broad Run on the rededication ceremony committee.
David Lawlor, a Broad Run graduate with a son in its freshman class, is part of a family that has had a Broad Run student since 1979. His sister is a first-year math teacher.
He joked about some of the changes the school had seen.
"Where's the field party?" he asked. "For that matter, where's the field?"
On the weight room: "I'd be huge if I had all those weights back then."
But like having Dolores Plant still teaching, and Hatrick just a couple of promotions away, some things haven't changed at Broad Run.
Even back when the building opened, late and unfinished, Hatrick recognized what it was that made Broad Run a special place.
"No matter how many walls we put in, that is not Broad Run High School," Hatrick said. "Broad Run High School is the people who have been part of this school since it was only an idea."