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History

Renfrew Collegiate Institute has proud tradition of excellence within its community.

In January, 1881, the first classes were held at the Renfrew High School which was located where Renfrew Collegiate currently stands.  Mr. Charles McDowell was the first Principal.  Enrolment grew rapidly and an enlarged building was opened on the same site in January 1896.  In 1902, Renfrew High School aplied for and received "Collegiate" status after having fulfilled numerous requirements including adding a fourth teacher and increasing the value of the school equipment from $500 to $2,500.  Renfrew High School thus became Renfrew Collegiate in 1902.  In 1908, Dr. Hugh Bryan replaced Mr. McDowell as Principal of Renfrew Collegiate.  By this time, the staff of the school numbered seven with salaries ranging from $650 to $1,350 per annum.  County pupils paid fees of $25 per year to attend school at that time.  A gym was added to Renfrew Collegiate in 1911.

The original building that housed Renfrew Collegiate was eventually condemned due to sagging joists, inadequate ventilation and insufficient lighting.  Students were housed in the Armouries for two years while the new school was being constructed.  In 1923, a new, three story building was completed, consisting of 19 classrooms, a library, three science labs and an auditorium with a gymnasium underneath.  In 1924, there were 390 students enrolled and 13 staff were employed at Renfrew Collegiate.  The shop wing (formerly the gym which was constructed in 1911) was destroyed by fire in 1958.  This wing was immediately replaced with a two story wing containing five classrooms and a staff room.

The "Baby Boom" and society's increased insistence that students remain in school until graduation resulted in a sharp increase in enrolment and therefore demand for educational facilities in the 1960's.  A renovation in 1963, costing over $1,000,000, resulted in the creation of a new Technical Education wing and a new double gymnasium, along with some modernization of the 1922 building.  The old gym was also converted into a much needed cafeteria.  In 1966 the school expanded yet again, adding 13 classrooms and a second gym with a greenhouse on top.  Stewart Field was also acquired in 1969, thanks in part to a bequest from the estate of Mrs. D. W. Stewart.  The student population in 1970 was just under 1300 students.  The staff totalled 81.  In 1971, a new entrance and library was added to Renfrew Collegiate.

Renfrew Collegiate again underwent renovations in 2010 to accommodate the inclusion of grades seven and eight.  Today Renfrew Collegiate houses approximately 650 students in grades 7 through 12.  There are approximately 70 staff currently employed at Renfrew Collegiate.

(The above summarizes "The History of Renfrew Collegiate" written by Leslie J. Anderson and found in the Centennial Harpooner, Renfrew Collegiate Institute, 1881-1981.