AMES, Iowa — Ames High School’s old campus has served the city well for decades, but it’s now time for generations of Little Cyclones to say goodbye.
The school is set to be demolished as its sparkling new replacement rises next door, so the school district hosted farewell tours for Ames High alumni this weekend.
“There are some really mixed feelings, especially with me being an Ames High grad,” said Ames High School associate principal Nicole Patton. “I love seeing every one come in and hearing their stories; I even heard of a married couple coming to recreate their high school sweetheart photos.”
The old campus was built in 1960, but its days have been numbered for a while. Ames voters approved a $110 million bond to fund a new high school building back in 2018; the total cost of the project has landed at $137 million.,
“It’s going to be amazing,” Patton said. “We will have collaborative spaces to make it more of a junior college kind of feel than a traditional high school feel.”
While Patton is looking towards the future, the alumni who toured the old campus cherished the past. That included former Ames High teacher and boys’ basketball coach Wayne Clinton, who led a Little Cyclones team which included future NBA player Fred Hoiberg to a state championship in 1991.
Clinton lives in Ames, but his daughter came back to Iowa from St. Louis to accompany him on his last visit to the gym he made famous. Clinton began his career at Ames High in 1966, when he became the school’s first Black head coach.
“My color never entered into the picture for me much, because I refereed and officiated all over the state of Iowa,” said Clinton. “However, being able to be the first African-American to win the state title is an accomplishment I will forever cherish.”
The new building will be ready for classes by the start of next school year, after which the old building will be demolished.