The History of Mont Harmon Middle (Junior High) School
Mont Harmon Junior High School was built as a replacement for the old Price Junior High School. The original building was constructed in 1912 and dedicated in January 1913. At a citizens' meeting held on November 18, 1911, Carbon County citizens met to decide if Carbon County should have a high school. Should the county provide an opportunity for students to earn a high school diploma and should the county construct a high school building? If yes, where should the building be constructed? The citizens voted to construct a building and out of 561 votes, Price received 356 votes to have the school built in the city. A bond election was held in January 1912, and $45,000 was allocated for the building. Price City deeded 15 acres of land at the head of 8th Street (Carbon Avenue). A school board had been elected and the building was constructed. Dimensions were 142 by 131 feet, two stories high, with a full size pool in the basement under a gym floor. The majestic building was one of the most elaborate and beautiful buildings in the state.
In 1938, the building became Price Junior High when grades 11 and 12 moved to the combined campus of Carbon High and Carbon College on 4th North. The junior high at this time included grades 7 - 10. A shop building was constructed in 1928 and a two-story annex was later added.
In 1967, the new Mont Harmon Junior High School was constructed west of the main building. Students continued to attend the old school until October 30, 1967. On that day students reported to the new building. At a meeting held in September 1967, the school board issued a notice to contractors for the demolition of the grand old building. The building had educated students through two world wars, a Berlin Wall, Cold War, Korean War, and the beginning of Vietnam. The annex was remodeled and the school board offices were moved into the building.
A formal dedication was held on November 6, 1967. The new building was built at a cost of $1,510,920 and had 102,700 square feet of space. Dr. Judd Harmon, son of Mr. Mont Harmon, namesake of the building, gave the dedicatory address. Board President John Nielson presented the building to Principal Worthen, staff, and students.
With the new move, Principal Worthen began a closed campus policy. The new building had a complete cafeteria and students no longer could go off campus for lunch. The old building did not have a cafeteria and students had been bussed to Carbon High School for lunch.
Faculty members at the new school included: Mr. Frank Worthen, principal, Myra H. Bartley, LeLa Black, Deane W. Brown, Joseph V. Bunderson, Verna J. Cromar, Avon Kay Dimick, Paul A. Dupin, Lawrence B. Golding-, Beula Heath, Brent Housekeeper, Lenore R. Hutchings, Donald E. Jones, Edgar Reed Lasson, Catherine Leavitt, Perry L. McArthur, Bonnie McFadden, Zeela M. Merrill, Ray Ted Milovich, Mary Lynne Nicoles. James L. Powell, Raymond Rachele, Charles F. Rudisill. Penelope Sampinos, Jean M. Sargent, and Henry Simone. Dot Fausett was the school secretary. Mrs. Merrill was the librarian and Mrs. Neeley was the aide.
Mr. Worthen was the first principal. In 1971 he left to become the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools. He retired in 1987. Mr. Glen Horrocks, a teacher in East Carbon became the new principal and stayed until 1974. He took a job as principal at Duchesne High School and retired in 1992 as Acting Superintendent of Duchesne School District. Mr. Larry Leonard became principal in 1974 and continued until 1986. During his time as principal, the school was awarded plaques (1984 and 1985) as one of the outstanding secondary schools in the state of Utah.
In 1987 it was evident that Mont Harmon could not hold the increased enrollment. Earlier the school had added four trailers with two classrooms each and had reached student capacity. The most feasible alternative was to establish a 6-7 grade middle school at Price Elementary. Mont Harmon lost several teachers, the 7th grade and two trailers the next year. Enrollment dropped from 783 in 1986-87 to 535 in 1987-88. There was also a major change in principals. Mr. Leonard and Dr. Wood went to the high school, Mrs. Crookston and Mr. Meeks came to the junior high. Mr. Meeks left in the spring of 1989 and was replaced by Mr. Kerry Jensen. Since 1996 Mont Harmon has 7 different administrations. The newest principal in Mr. Bruce Bean who was appointed to the position during the summer of 2009. Mrs. Carol Wells continues to serve as the assistant principal.
The late 80’s saw carpets added in the halls to decrease the noise level. Lockers in the hallway were put against the walls, making an open spacious hallway. 2002 saw a large set of additions to the original building. Two new wings were added. The school now has 32 classrooms and labs.
The office has gone from old manual typewriters to electric models to computers. The type classes now called keyboarding, have gone from the old Olympia typewriters to PCs. The school now has five PC labs. The library has gone through many titles and is presently called the Library Media Center (LMC). The LMC has changed considerably over the years. Many tasks have been automated by the computerized Follette Library Media system, i.e., the card catalog and checking out books. CD ROM's have provided access to data bases including magazine indexes and text, encyclopedias, and other materials. The LMC has moved into the information age. The hall carpet was removed in 2005 because of the difficulty in keeping it looking clean. The student Lockers were removed in 2007.
Trivia: In 1971, Mont Harmon female students protested the dress code by wearing pants to school. Student reporters asked if this was an appropriate way to protest. Something worked because now students can wear most anything, as long as it is modest. Dress styles have almost done a complete turn, with miniskirts and bell-bottoms making a comeback.
The 2014 school year sees the changing of the school name to Mont Harmon Middle School. That change is precipitated by the School Board's decision to move the ninth graders to Carbon High School, and the sixth graders to middle schools.
We have seen the initiation of a one-on-one computer initiative at MHMS. Each student has access to a Chromebook in every class.