Asheville High School

Asheville Education

Asheville High School

Asheville High School, formerly Lee H. Edwards High School, is the only secondary school in the Asheville City Schools district, and one of seven public secondary schools in Buncombe County. As of 2008 Asheville High boasted a faculty of 138. The current principal is Carol Ray. Asheville High School has more ethnic and socio-economic diversity than any other public high school in Buncombe County, and is among the most diverse schools in all of Western North Carolina. Newsweek has ranked Asheville High School in the top 100 high schools in the United States. Along with the high school, the Asheville City Schools district also contains five elementary schools and one middle school, The Asheville Middle School.

Since 1929, Asheville High School has been located less than two miles south of Downtown Asheville between McDowell St. and Victoria Rd. at 419 McDowell St. As of 2008, Asheville High School has an enrollment of approximately 1230 students, making it the fourth largest of the seven public high schools in Buncombe County and 128th largest among the 360 public high schools in North Carolina.

Asheville High School Athletics

Mountain Athletic Conference

The Asheville High School Cougars compete in the NCHSAA’s 3A Mountain Athletic Conference. The MAC has seven schools in all, including four other schools in Buncombe County, one from Haywood County, and one from Macon County. Besides Asheville High, these schools are: the Clyde A. Erwin High School Warriors, located east of Asheville near Black Mountain; the Enka High School Jets, located just West of Asheville in Enka, the North Buncombe High School Blackhawks, located North of Asheville in Weaverville; the T.C. Roberson High School Rams, located in South Asheville; the Franklin High School Panthers, located 70 miles Southwest of Asheville in Franklin, NC; and the Tuscola High School Mountaineers, located 30 miles West of Asheville in Waynesville, NC.

Asheville High Schools is consistently among the top 3A high school athletic programs in North Carolina. While competitiveness varies year to year, Asheville High School’s main rival in the conference tends to be T.C. Roberson High School, who over the last two years have been the top ranked 3A athletic program in the state. To learn more about the Asheville High School Athletics program visit:

Asheville High School History

Historic Birds Eye view of Asheville High School
Photo by Frank Clodfelter
(Courtesy of Pack Memorial Library)

Although there were several schools named "Asheville High School" in the early 1900’s, the school didn’t exist in its current location until 1929. The school board selected the design of renowned architect Douglas D. Ellington from the seven designs that had been submitted. In addition, the board hired nationally known planner Dr. Nickolaus Louis Englehardt of Colombia University to assist Ellington. Together they created a model facility in both architectural design and educational offerings.

Shortly after the school opened the stock market crashed and country plunged into a depression. The Great Depression caught Asheville, which was rapidly growing, off guard. Municipal funding was so tight that the school closed for a period and students where temporarily moved to David Millard and Fletcher Hall Middle Schools.

In 1935 the school changed its name to Lee H. Edwards High School in honor of principal Edwards who died unexpectedly earlier in the year. The school remained largely unchanged until the late 1940’s.

Significant Events and Construction

  • 1949 - Students helped to build a new vocational building, now called the ROTC building.
  • 1965 – Another larger vocational building was built.
  • 1969 – Asheville City Schools racially integrated and the name was returned to Asheville High School.
  • 1970’s – New media center added to the main building. A gym and athletic facility added to the original vocational building.
  • 1990’s – New cultural arts building added. School building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.
  • 2006 – New cafeteria constructed.

Asheville High School Information

School Website
Asheville High on Wikipedia
Asheville Cougar Athletics
Asheville Education

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