Roots of Cedar Hills began more than 100 years ago

AARON ROYSTER/Miner<br><br>
The U.S. flag and Arizona flag whip in the wind in front of Cedar Hills, the only school in the Hackberry Elementary School District.

AARON ROYSTER/Miner<br><br> The U.S. flag and Arizona flag whip in the wind in front of Cedar Hills, the only school in the Hackberry Elementary School District.

KINGMAN - Like the shape of the Grand Canyon, time has molded Cedar Hills School into its current form.

With no official historic record of establishment, the first photograph was of the Hackberry Elementary School District in 1892. In 1940, the district had a student population of 35 students.

After not one but two fires, Hackberry School was built in 1917 on Route 66 - 25 miles east of Kingman. For 75 years, the school served as a source of elementary education for Hackberry and surrounding communities.

After a flood, the school was relocated to three modular buildings in 1992 at 9501 E. Nellie Drive. It was renamed Black Ranch School, for its proximity to Black Ranch Road.

With only 25 students at the school, Superintendent Pat Wright voted to keep Cedar Hills open in 1997 rather than send the students to the Kingman Unified School District.

The same year, the Hackberry Elementary School District made history when all three of its board members resigned in December, due to differences with parents of Cedar Hills.

This was the first occurrence of a complete school board resigning at once in the history of Arizona, said Mike File, the Mohave County school superintendent, at the time.

The transformation to its present state began in 1998. Under the direction of the district governing board, the focus shifted to improving the school with permanent structures.

With funding from the state School Facilities Board, construction began on the 16,187-square-foot structure. It was designed for up to 125 students.

For the 2000-2001 school year, students were relocated to Black Mountain Elementary in Golden Valley while the new buildings were under construction. Through an intergovernmental agreement, Cedar Hills' students used classrooms in the back building on the Golden Valley campus.

The following year, students made their way into their new building on their old campus. Cedar Hills' employee Theresa Hale saw the transition and described the new school as a state-of-the-art facility.

The campus features a multipurpose room that can be used as an indoor gymnasium and has an upgraded kitchen from which breakfast and hot lunches will be served.

One of the seven classrooms is designated as a science classroom. There also is a library and computer center, conference room, resource room for children with disabilities, nurse's office and a staff lounge.

Classes run Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There are currently 42 students at the school, a number Hale hoped would expand next year.

Cedar Hills is accepting residents of their district, as well as neighboring districts. With a focus on academic excellence, the school is maintaining full-day kindergarten next year in the face of possible state budget cuts, she said.

For more information about the school or to enroll next year, call (928) 692-0013 or go to www.cedarhillsschool.org.