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Sunday, July 17, 2022

Goodbye, Antler Gymnasium -- scheduled to be torn down next week.

Tivy High School's Antler Gymnasium -- under construction in 1967.
Click on any image to enlarge.

Tivy Basketball 1968
1967 was a busy year for building in Kerrville. Several iconic structures were built that year, including Tom Daniels Elementary, Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, and the Tivy High School Gymnasium on Sidney Baker Street.
News came this week that the campus on Sidney Baker Street has been sold by the Kerrville Independent School district – and demolition could begin as early as next week. That old school site has an interesting story, as it changed from a junior high school campus, to a high school campus, and then back to a middle school campus.
Students in the Gym
The first school to open on that site was Hal Peterson Junior High School, which first saw students on September 5, 1961; that first group was a little more than 600 students. Getting the school opened proved to be a challenge for the trustees of the school district.
The previous year, in February, 1960, the school board took under option a 109 acre tract “on the Fredericksburg Road,” a meadow known as Peterson Pasture. The plan was for the school district and the city government to “split up the tract for school and municipal uses.” But then a rift occurred among the school trustees, who divided into two opposing factions. This split didn’t help the $1.132 million dollar bond they’d put before the district’s voters: it was defeated by a 2-1 majority. In June, the superintendent of schools, John Armstrong, resigned.
1968 Tivy Volleyball
A new superintendent was hired, Fred Bell, and he outlined a new bond program, totaling $750,000 -- which passed in October, 1960.
Meanwhile, Hal Peterson, of the Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation, provided a $5,000 gift to fund a special education unit, and donated 10 acres of the tract to the school district. To express their appreciation, the school board voted unanimously to name the new school the “Hal Peterson Junior High School.”
Tivy Choir in the Gym
The campus continued as a junior high campus for about 5 years. In 1966, the school board decided to switch the high school and the junior high school campuses, moving the high school to the newly-built campus on Sidney Baker, and sending the junior high kids to a campus on Tivy Street, where the oldest portion of the building was constructed in 1890. (In 1984, the oldest part of that building was restored and now houses the KISD administrative offices.)
Tivy Cheerleaders 1968
To prepare for the transfer of high school students to the campus on Sidney Baker Street, the district built a two-story ‘science building’ with 20 classrooms, some buildings to house auto repair, agriculture, and shop classes, and a new gymnasium, which was “planned to seat 1,500.” The new gym would have “glass backboards on the playing court and elevating practice backboards.”
Construction on these renovations began in 1967.
The very first basketball game held in the new gymnasium was on December 1, 1967, when the Tivy “B” squad played the San Marcos “B” squad during a tournament. (Today we’d call them junior varsity teams.) It was the first athletic event held in the new gym, and it allowed the Kerrville community an opportunity to “see the fine facilities provided in the new gym for your young people.”
Antler Gymnasium, 1968
In December 3, 1967 issue of the Kerrville Daily Times reported the “Antlers Open Gym With Win,” beating San Marcos 63-58. Stuart Caulkins, of the Tivy team, scored the very first Tivy basket in the new gym, and he had a great game, scoring a total of 20 points. Harold Hardee had 18 points; Joe Faifer, 14; Jimmy Locke, 6; Jimmy LeMeilleur, 4; and David Braden, 1.
In 2004, a new campus for Tivy High School was completed on Loop 534, and the Hal Peterson Middle School moved ‘back’ to the Sidney Baker campus. When the new Hal Peterson Middle School on Loop 534 was completed in 2021, the old junior high school/ high school/ middle school campus was left vacant and put up for sale by the school district.
That sale is reported to have closed this week, ending the site’s long association with education. Demolition could begin as early as next week.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who graduated from Tivy High School in the late 1970s, when it was located on Sidney Baker Street. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times July 16, 2022.

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