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New Compton High School groundbreaking: 2019

Construction on the new campus is scheduled to break ground in 2019; completion is slated for 2024

Plans in the works to construct brand new campus for the school nicknamed the ‘Tarbabes’

COMPTON — In January, 2017, Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees selected DLR Group, with offices in Los Angeles, as the architects to design the new Compton High School, which will serve approximately 2,500 students.
The accompanying video shares the plans and a peek at what the new campus will look like after completion. Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in 2019, with completion slated for 2024.

“As one stakeholder shared with us, ‘Compton sets trends,’” said DLR Group Principal Brett Hobza, AIA, about the project and its significance in the Compton community. “DLR Group didn’t set out to replicate ideas or capitalize on trends; we wanted to develop unique and innovative design approaches, empathetic to the community of learners in Compton.”

“The design team sought to ensure that teachers and students had the spaces and tools that they will need to flourish.”

History of Compton High School

In 1896 the entirety of the Compton High School campus was a one-room school house that graduated its first class in 1898. By 1901 the student enrollment was 153 students, which was much larger than its beginning class.

Original Compton High School in 1896. Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library

Compton High School‘s original building in 1896. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library

It was a vastly different time at the turn of the century. Female students wore ankle length skirts. Pants were not permitted. Male students dressed in suits and ties. During this time the school mascot was not a “Tarbabe” as it is today, but rather a “Lion.” The colors were maroon and white as opposed to current Columbia blue and white.
Compton High School "Tarbabe" mascot. Courtesy CHS

Compton High School “Tarbabe” mascot. Courtesy CHS

Between 1914 and 1925, the student body increased to a seam-bursting 1,000 students, forcing the construction of 12 new buildings on campus. Two years later in 1927, a community college was added to the campus to enable graduating seniors the opportunity to pursue a college education within the campus. It was this time that the mascot changed from a lion to the Tartars (a Mongolian warrior).

The college was known for being “(Adult) Tartars” while the high school was considered “(Baby) Tartars.” The Baby Tartars have had many nicknames over the years — Little Tartars, Tartar Babies, Babes, and “Tarbabes,” which happen to be the most popular nickname and it stuck. Over the years, many outside Compton misunderstood the nickname, believing it had a racial connotation, as in “Black-babes” because the school was predominately African-American from the mid-60s on.

But students and residents living in Compton before the 1960s knew better. Prior to those years and earlier, Compton was largely White, so “Black-babes” would have not applied.

The school fell to a devastating fate in 1933, destroyed by the powerful 6.3 magnitude Long Beach earthquake flattened the administration building. Despite the temblor’s devastation, it did not stop the growth of the student body. By 1935 the building was reconstructed and Compton was back in the business of educating its students.

Compton High School. Courtesy CUSD

Compton High School. Courtesy CUSD

In 1953, due to the growth of the population of the school and the city of Compton itself, it became necessary to separate the high school and college facilities. Regardless, of the separation, the college “Tartars,” continued to wear maroon and white, as they still do today, but the high school “Tarbabes” changed to the current colors of Columbia blue and white.

In 1996 Compton High School celebrated its rich 100-year of academic and athletic excellence along with its diverse population.

Content from Compton High School archives and schoolconstructionnews.com contributed to this post

READ ALSO: DLR Group Designs New Compton High School

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  • Sharon Sue Zimberg June 24, 2019

    I graduated in 1961. If I am correct I was the first female Senior Class President in the High Schools history. I can still hear the sound of hundreds of students walking the halls on real wooden floors. Such a wonderful sound compared to tile floors of today. The auditorium on the first floor seemed to be huge to us. Many fine memories on that campus. My husband attended high school at Compton through his junior year then graduated from Dominguez. We are white. There were Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, African American and I am sure other great nationalities whom attend Compton. It was and still is a wonderful school.

  • Feoylan August 16, 2018

    I am a tenant in the apartments located behind Compton high school. The district has informed us that we must move out because of this new costruction. What is unfair is that we have been informed that we will not receive any relocation assistance. I did some research and have found out that it is mandatory in Los Angeles for the landlord (which in this case is the cusd) to give relocation assistance especially when we are being forced to move due to construction. I feel like something illegal is being done to us and would like some help.

  • Ed March 9, 2018

    We visited our alma mater a few years ago. Myself a 1959 grad and my wife 1954. What impacted me most was a cement slab where the Mayo Plunge used to be. I held eight Compton High swimming records when I graduated…sad?

  • violeta Gutierrez October 12, 2017

    i wish i can visit someday my high school.

  • violeta Gutierrez October 12, 2017

    I really miss my school, i was enrolled in 1986 and proud of my compton high school thanks to my knowledge i went to college and got my degree as Medical Administrative Assistant. even though i was raised in compton and am a mexican i feel proud of saying im from compton.

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