Facts about Southwood Elementary
- Opened: 1926
- Grades: K-5
- Colors: Yellow and blue
- Mascot: Yellow jacket
- Current Enrollment: 268
- Famous Alumni: Bob Allen, aka Slim Short, radio and television personality and host of "Carolina Today"
During the early 1800’s to early 1920’s schools in Lenoir County consisted of basic, two or three-room buildings.
Lenoir County was the first in the state to consolidate its schools on a county-wide level. Southwood School opened in 1926 as a part of Lenoir County Board of Education’s redistricting and restructuring, and served 126 students south of the river in grades 1-11 on more than 17 acres. It had about 12 teachers, 14 rooms and included an auditorium. During its initial years in operation, students in grade 12 were bused to Grainger High School. During this time, students drove buses for a rate of $10 per month. In 1929, Southwood’s recognizable white columns were added to the entrance of the building.
In the 1930’s, the first school gym was built at Southwood. In 1945, the school began to serve its first twelfth grade classes, and in 1947, the west wing building was added, creating space for a cafeteria, as well as vocational and economic rooms. By the 1950’s the entire county had a progressive rural school system in place by organizing additions and accessibility to its growing population of students.
In the late 1950’s, the current gym was built. The first kindergarten classes were added to the school in the early 1960’s.
The process of desegregation within the schools began in 1972, and Southwood integrated both black and white students in its classrooms.
The school transitioned to Southwood Elementary in 1981, serving kindergarten through fifth grades.
In 1995, the main, two-story building was remodeled, becoming a single-story administration building equipped with additional classrooms. The library of the east wing became classroom space, and a larger library opened in the main building. The school maintained its general brick aesthetic, with white columns at its entrance. The arched glass window above the front doors was preserved from the original building.
Currently, Southwood Elementary serves 268 students with 19 teachers in grades K-5, and is one of the oldest school campuses still in use within the county.