History of the School
In the 1870's and prior, persons in the Stuarts Draft area attended various schools consisting of one or two rooms with a dozen or fewer students. Many homes set aside a room and hired a private tutor.
One of the earliest schools was a log cabin structure located on the Turk property. A small community evolved around this structure including a general store and a post office, to which mail was delivered by pony express. The Turk estate was divided and sold into smaller sections and the school was no longer needed.
On December 1, 1880, Joseph H. Rankin sold to the Trustees of the Public Free School of South River District, a small plot of land upon which to build a school house. The property stretched from the small scrub pine in the Howardsville Turnpike (now Main Street) to a stone pile under the fence corner on the Rankin property.
But this school was abandoned for one constructed on the property of Emanual D. Kindig. This school served the needs of the community until the mid 1890's when a "large" five room, two story structure was built along the area that presently borders on Route 340.
Stuarts Draft continued to grow to such an extent that a new school was needed. Property was purchased at the site of the former Upper Grade Building. On April 2, 1914, the Trustees of the School Board of South River District, purchased two lots totaling approximately one acre for the sum of "$500 cash in hand." But this proved inadequate space, so an additional purchase of ½ an acre was necessary. And as inflation would have it, this lot was purchased for the considerable sum of $350 only seven months after the original purchase.
In 1916, a two-story brick building of eight classrooms and basement was constructed. This building was used continually until 1947 when it was abandoned. It was torn down in 1953.
The Stuarts Draft community continued its rapid growth and a relatively new group of directors, the Augusta County Board, appropriated $20,000 for a new building to alleviate overcrowding. A high school was built containing a total of six rooms, which included classrooms, office space and gymnasium-auditorium. In 1935, three classrooms, a stage, and dressing rooms were added to the high school building at a cost of $12,000.
A World War II Veterans Hospital was converted to Wilson Memorial High School in 1947. Stuarts Draft High School students transferred to Wilson, making the Stuarts Draft building available for elementary school utilization.
As the Stuarts Draft area continued to grow, the need for a new school became apparent. Land was purchased for $7,750 and an elementary school was completed in 1955 at a cost of $394,400. In 1967, nine classrooms were added resulting in a twenty-eight classroom facility.
Crowded conditions at the elementary school necessitated the transfer of grade seven students to Stuarts Draft High School during the 1973-1975 terms. Grade seven was returned to the elementary buildings in September, 1975.
The Stuarts Draft district, which encompassed a 100-square mile area, sent 1250 students to the multiple-building elementary school. Kindergarten through grade five were housed in the lower grade building, while additional fifth graders plus sixth and seventh graders utilized the buildings and trailers across the street and classrooms at Stuarts Draft High School.
With the opening of the Stuarts Draft Middle School, as well as the redistricting of the Stuarts Draft/Ladd area in 1978, the elementary population consisted of 520 Kindergarten through fifth grade students. Stuarts Draft Elementary was now a one-building school.
Stuarts Draft Elementary School proceeded along the road of advancement with the addition of a new gymnasium. The brick and steel structure was completed during the 1979-80 school term. The addition of the gym offered great opportunity for advancement in the area of Physical Education at Stuarts Draft Elementary School.
An educationally sound program utilizes all possible resources that are available. During the fall of 1980, Stuarts Draft Elementary School introduced its Nature Trail to the curriculum. The trail is located in the wooded area which borders the back playground of the school. A joint effort from the administration, parents, and Forestry Service brought forth a well-defined trail. The Nature Trail serves to enhance the Science programs of the school.
Stuarts Draft Elementary School went through the transition from a one-room school to a twenty-eight classroom facility. Each step of the transition had been for the improvement of the quality of education offered to its students. Whether children arrived on foot, horseback, school bus or parent-driven automobile, they entered the building staffed by individuals dedicated to providing an ever-improving program of learning.
The new Stuarts Draft Elementary School was opened for the 1995-96 school year thus vacating the building located on Route 608. In 1997, the school board began holding public hearings to discuss the plan to renovate and reopen the vacated school in an attempt to help ease conditions caused by the residential growth of the Stuarts Draft community. The school board started gathering public input on the naming of the building as the renovation process began. The “new” school would be named Guy K. Stump Elementary School in honor of the local educator who devoted many years to public education in Augusta County as both an elementary school teacher and principal in Stuarts Draft.
During the renovation process, a new library/media center was added as well as a hallway to connect the gymnasium to the school building. Renovations incorporating the new and the old have enhanced the building design. An art room has been added along with a computer lab housing 25 iMac stations and a file server. The music room is now on the stage area with moveable wall partitions which can open that area to the cafeteria and allow for student performances.
Playground areas have been included in the renovation plan with the construction of three new wooden structures. One is designed for kindergarten and grade one students, one is for students in grades two and three, and one is for students in grades four and five.
Student safety is included in the renovation plan which allows for bus traffic and parent traffic to be managed separately. There is a bus staging area for student drop off and pick up. This area doubles as a playground area during the school day as it can be separated from the parking lot using gates.
Guy K. Stump Elementary School opened for students August 23, 1999.