The Saucon Valley School District is the result of the merger of the Hellertown School District and the Lower Saucon Township School District. Presently, all classes are located at the Saucon Valley Educational Campus located on Polk Valley Road, Lower Saucon Township, at the Southeast corner of the Borough of Hellertown. District students attend school on this campus from kindergarten through graduation from twelfth grade. This unique and functional contiguous structure encompasses Saucon Valley Elementary School, Saucon Valley Middle School, Saucon Valley High School, the District Administration offices, athletic facilities, fields and an outdoor environmental learning center.
Hellertown High School
1896 - 1958
Hellertown Lower Saucon High School
1958 - 1971
Saucon Valley High School
1971 - Present
In 1938 or 1939, a school meeting was held in the Hellertown High School auditorium to name the school’s sports teams, particularly the baseball team. The school did not have a football team at that time, due to the expense of fielding a team. Various names were suggested. One student, Joe Sopko, noticed what appeared to him as two panther heads carved in the wood on each side of the stage. Joe pointed them out to the class president, Bobby Potts. Bobby raised his hand and suggested the name "Panthers." It was voted on and passed by the student body.
In the late 1950s, the original auditorium was demolished to make way for the renovation and addition to the high school which included a new auditorium. The wood was torn out, scrapped and eventually found its way into someone’s home woodpile. The panther heads were rediscovered years later, cleaned up, painted black and made into bookends. Their location is unknown.
1896 - 1916
1920 - 1921
1921 - 1928
1932 - 1948
1948 - 1966
1966 - 1968
1970 - 1982
1982 - 1984
1984 - 1996
1996 - 2006
2006 - 2009
2010 - 2016
2016 - 2017
2017 - 2018
2018 - 2022
2022 - Present
The first schools of record were recorded in Lower Saucon. They were church operated at Christ Lutheran Church on Easton Road and New Jerusalem Church on Apple's Church Road, where the schoolhouse predated the church. According to an article attributed to Herbert S. Weisel for "The Look Back," records show that by 1839, just five years after the passage of the Pennsylvania Free Public School Act, the Lower Saucon Township School District had 10 one-room schools, including one on Main Street in the township village of Hellertown. In 1872, the township village of Hellertown was incorporated as a borough and its public school became part of the Hellertown School District.
A number of schools, mostly one-room, were recorded as serving the students of Lower Saucon Township during the years prior to 1958:
History of Hellertown Borough Schools
The first "public" school was built on land adjacent to Silver Creek and was donated by John Rentzheimer. St. Paul’s Methodist Church is presently on this site. By 1870, the building was replaced by a two-room structure built on Northampton Street, between Saucon Street and Magnolia Road, on land donated by Tilghman Eisenhart.
The Hellertown High School was organized in 1896 through the efforts Alvin I. Reinhard, and a building was erected and continues to be located at Main and Pine Streets. By 1910, a two story structure replaced the two-room school at the Northampton Street site. The new building served elementary through high school students until 1920. In 1919, the borough of Hellertown annexed what was to become the first ward or "crossroads" from Lower Saucon Township. The township was reimbursed for the three school buildings; the Franklin and Furnace Schools, both on Main Street, and Lower Saucon High School at High and Reigel Streets became part of the Hellertown School District. In 1920, the former Lower Saucon High School on High Street became Hellertown High School and the Northampton Street Building was named Wolf Elementary School. In 1931, a new high school was constructed on Main Street between Thomas Avenue and Sycamore Street. The Wolf building on Northampton Street was renamed Reinhard (Elementary) and the former Hellertown High School on High Street was named Wolf (Elementary).
With the opening of the Hellertown High School on Main Street, twelfth grade was added. In 1952, the population growth necessitated the addition of four classrooms to Reinhard Elementary. In 1953, joint operations between the borough and township schools began. Plans were made to improve facilities for all students. In September 1957, a new addition with eight classrooms, a multipurpose room and other space was completed at Reinhard. In September 1958, Lower Saucon Elementary School on Wassergass Road opened, replacing thirteen obsolete buildings, ten of them one-room schools. In January 1959, Hellertown High School reopened as the renovated and expanded Hellertown Lower Saucon Joint Junior-Senior High School. In April 1962, the Wolf Elementary School renovation and annexation of a classroom, cafeteria and auditorium was complete.
On December 5, 1966, the joint school system was dissolved and the Saucon Valley School District was organized. In 1971, a new Saucon Valley Senior High School was completed on a 98 acre parcel (known as the Herman tract) between Walnut Street and Polk Valley Road. The former high school on Main Street became Saucon Valley Junior High School.
In 1982, with a decline of elementary age students, the Wolf Elementary School building was closed, sold and now serves as an apartment building. In 1989, sixth grade was moved out of the elementary school and the Junior High was reconfigured as a Middle School. Ninth grade was moved to the high school. In the mid-1990s, concerns about the district’s older buildings resulted in a community facilities study. Reinhard and Lower Saucon Elementary along with Saucon Valley Middle School on Main Street were slated to be replaced by a contiguous structure connected to the high school that would provide facilities for grades K-12 on one campus. Groundbreaking took place on October 18, 1997 and the facility opened for students in September 1999. The new structures included Elementary and Middle School facilities along with a Science Pod addition to the high school and Administrative offices. The unique design allows space to be reconfigured for uses according to student and program needs. Several additional wings in the elementary facility completed in 2002 provided additional space for the growing school age population.
In 2002, the Lutz Franklin Schoolhouse was deeded to the Lower Saucon Historical Society for renovation and presently serves as a museum of early education. With the opening of the campus, the building on Main Street, which served as a high school, junior high school and middle school, was sold and now functions as Saucon Valley Manor, a facility for senior citizens. Lower Saucon Elementary School was also sold. The Reinhard building was retained and leased for several years to Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 as Second Chance Academy, an alternative school. Reinhard was conveyed to the Borough of Hellertown in 2003. After years of being unoccupied and in need of costly repairs, Reinhard was demolished in 2012.