Scruggs enshrined at CCHS with new class hall

Published 11:31 am Friday, May 31, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Chilton County High School and Chilton County Schools honored late principal Ray Scruggs by naming the new building addition on the CCHS campus in his honor. A dedication ceremony was held in April for the building that welcomed Scruggs’ family members, former CCHS teachers and students under Scruggs, current CCHS staff and students and CCS Superintendent Corey Clements to see the new Ray Scruggs Hall.

“It was a great day for Mr. Scruggs,” Chilton County High School Principal Louise Pitts said. “I think he was well deserving, and I hope his family was proud to hear the news.”

Born in Monroe County, Scruggs graduated from Excel High School in 1953 before attending Livingston University on a full football scholarship. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and History, and Scruggs also earned a Master’s Degree in Administration from Troy University during his schooling.

Scruggs’ impact in Clanton began in 1958 arriving to the town as an assistant football and basketball coach at CCHS, as well as teaching history at the school. His jump to administration happened at Henry M. Adair Junior High School in the 1960s where he served as principal for three and a half years. This all led up to Scruggs’ taking over as principal of Chilton County High School in June of 1972, and he served in the position for 21 years before retiring in 1993. He was also a longtime member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Clanton Lions Club and First Baptist Church of Clanton.

Scruggs’ impact he had on the school and its students were the biggest reasons for dedicating the new building at CCHS in his honor. The school became a family affair for the Scruggs family as his wife, Hera, and children all worked at the school in teaching and administrative capacities.

“I think it is important for our students to see that history,” Pitts said. “When they see that someone was here that long, and they may not realize his whole family was here too, that is a tradition (that needs to be known).”

The building was designed by McKee and Associate Architects, Inc., and it was constructed by Wyatt General Contractor, LLC. It features sprawling hallways with massive classrooms, and extra abilities that will be key for the school in emergency situations.

Ray Scruggs Hall was erected as a tornado shelter for the school as well, with abilities to withstand 250 MPH winds. The building is also missile impact resistant due to the reinforcement of concrete within the building materials used to make the class hall.

Pitts and the CCHS staff and students did a mock tornado drill in order to see how many people the new building will fit. The building has a maximum occupant load of 909 persons, and CCHS has 823 students plus 60 teachers and staff members. The drill began by having teachers bring up to 75 people into one classroom, and they quickly found out that number could grow to as many as 100 people in each classroom comfortably. With the hallways included, CCHS is able to fit its entire student body and staff into Ray Scruggs Hall in the event of an emergency, adding to the lore of the new building honoring the late principal.

“Mr. Scruggs put his hand on many students who came back to teach here,” Pitts said. “We want students to know they have that potential in themselves … I need people to take my place, so I think it is very good to recognize the hard work and time (Scruggs put in here). Nowadays, a lot of people say ‘I am off the clock,’ Mr. Scruggs never knew that. He dedicated his life here, so I think it is a great honor for him as hard as he worked here.”

CCHS is planning to get a plaque for the building made during the summer that will be visible to all students and staff walking the halls of Ray Scruggs Hall next school year.