The School Board of Alachua County began construction in 1968 for two new high schools in the rapidly expanding suburbs of Gainesville, Florida, to supplement the city's two existing public high schools. The new school in the northwest suburbs was named F.W. Buchholz, in honor of a distinguished Alachua County educator who had died a few years earlier, while the school in the eastern suburbs was named Eastside High School. The school board hoped to open both schools in September 1970 and to open them without the upper classes (grades 11 and 12) in order to allow the new schools to expand gradually, while also allowing students in the upper grades at Gainesville High School (GHS) to remain there for their final years. The slow roll-out at Buchholz and Eastside also spread the need to hire new teachers over several years, and allowed the school board to alter the grade structure in the junior and senior highs.
The school board began designating faculty members while the new buildings were under construction. Gainesville's predominately black high school, Lincoln High, was scheduled to close at the end of the 1969–70 academic year. Its football coach, Jessie Heard, was named in 1969 to be the head coach at Buchholz for the 1970 season. Coach Heard selected the school's colors of black and gold, because he was impressed with the black and gold uniforms worn by the Vanderbilt University football team when they came to Gainesville to play the Florida Gators on October 25, 1969. The freshman class of 1970–1971 voted on what the school's mascot would be; this was between a Bobcat and a Golden Knight.
Gainesville and Alachua County elementary schools served grades K-6 in the 1960s, while junior high schools consisted of grades 7, 8 and 9. The school board planned to realign junior high class distribution once Buchholz and Eastside opened, elevating grade 9 to the high schools. Further, because it would open the two new schools without upperclassmen, Buchholz and Eastside would temporarily serve as combined junior-senior highs. Alachua County moved away from the junior high structure in the late 1970s, opening new middle schools to serve grades 6, 7 and 8.
Construction of the sprawling Buchholz campus cost $2.4 million. Progress lagged behind schedule in spring and summer 1970, forcing the school board to develop an improvised class schedule for the fall. When the new school year resumed after Labor Day 1970, students living within the prospective Buchholz school zone who were entering grade 10 remained at Westwood Junior High School, which shifted to a split, double-shift schedule. Construction of Eastside High was also behind schedule, forcing its prospective students to remain at Howard Bishop Jr. High, which also operated on a double-shift schedule. Buchholz's first football team, a Junior Varsity squad, played its first season out of Westwood in fall 1970, utilizing two trailers (one for the offense and one for the defense.)
The new school building opened midway through the 1970–71 academic year as F.W. Buchholz Junior-Senior High, with Principal James "Jim" Temple. The school opened for its first classes at 7 am on Wednesday January 6, 1971. Principal Temple had received special permission from the school board to use Monday and Tuesday for teacher orientation and planning, before welcoming students on Wednesday: those two days were "made up" by canceling teacher work days planned for February 5 and 12. Because of overcrowding at GHS and a limited fleet of school buses, the school board was hard-pressed to develop a city- and county-wide bus plan capable of carrying out a court-ordered cross-bussing integration plan. Of the initial 1,160 students attending Buchholz that first year, nearly 800 rode buses. There simply were not enough buses to allow every school to begin classes at a "normal" hour, so Buchholz (and Westwood) were shifted to an "early" day schedule, with classes held from 7am to 1pm for the remainder of the academic year.
Rather than holding classes on a rigid schedule of six fixed periods, Buchholz experimented with an innovative system of modular scheduling. The school day was divided into 21 mods, each 17 minutes long, and class length varied from one to three mods, depending on subject matter and day of the week. The traditional ringing bell to signal the end (and start) of a "period" was replaced with an electronic chime for each mod. The modular day included blocks of free time for students, designated Individual Directed Study time (IDS). In a January 1971 interview for the Gainesville Sun newspaper, Principal Temple explained that in a conventional school with a normal six and one-half hour day, students spend 275 minutes per week in each of six classes. In its first year operating on an abbreviated, "early" schedule, Buchholz students spent 260 minutes per-week, per-class; this increased to 275 minutes the following school year, when the county's acquisition of a dozen new school buses allowed Buchholz to begin classes at a "normal" time.
In addition to the 9th and 10th graders brought over from Westwood, the school also included grades 7 and 8 for its first two years, because there was no grade 11 or 12. Grades 11 and 12 were added in succession in the following years, and the junior high was eliminated after the 1971–72 school year.
Buchholz High's first graduating class, the Charter Class of 1973, had about 265 students. The Charter Class had the unique experience of being the "Senior Class" at BHS for three years, and of having been de facto "seniors" for their last four years of public school (since starting 9th grade).
In the 2014-2015, there were two suicides. In the 2015-2016 school year, there were two suicides, three bomb threats, and one shooting threat.
There is a pool on the third floor of the math building.
Frederick "Fritz" William Buchholz (1885–1965) was a teacher, principal, scholar, and politician. Born in Tampa, Florida on July 26, 1885, he was the son of Ludwig Wilhelm Buchholz and Augustine M. Wallace (married January 31, 1883 in Hillsborough County, Florida). His father, a recent German immigrant, was an educator who helped to establish public schools in Hillsborough County, becoming County Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1887.
At the dawn of the 20th century, Buchholz attended Florida State College in Tallahassee, where his father was a professor. Buchholz was a member of Florida State's 1902 track team, and played fullback on its 1902–1904 football team. He graduated with FSC's last class in spring 1905. Buchholz won the first Rhodes Scholarship in the State of Florida while a student at the Florida State College (later renamed the Florida State University) in 1905. Bucchholz graduated from Pembroke College, Oxford, England.
He came to Gainesville in 1914, as a teacher and coach of the football team at Gainesville High School. He was appointed principal of GHS in 1917 and served in the school system until his retirement in 1951.
Fritz Buchholz thrived in Gainesville despite the anti-German sentiments which swept across the nation, and in Florida schools, in 1917–18. His father, then on the faculty of the University of Florida in Gainesville as a Professor of Education and School Management (specializing in Biblical instruction), was accused of disloyalty during the Great War (World War I). Interestingly, an "F.W. Bughholz" (with an A.B., Bachelor of Arts degree) is listed as a professor of Latin at the University of Florida for the summer session of 1917, likely a misspelling of "Buchholz." This indicates his studies at Oxford did not result in a master's degree.
Buchholz's experience in coaching the GHS football team led to his instrumental role in the founding of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), during a meeting of 29 high school principals from across the state, held at the University of Florida in Gainesville on April 9, 1920. He served as its vice president from 1920–1923, again from 1925–1929, as president of the FHSAA from 1929–1933, and, finally, as executive secretary (Commissioner) from 1933–36. (In April 2001, Buchholz was post-humously elected to the FHSAA Hall of Fame.) He wrote the History of Alachua County, published in 1929, and represented Alachua County in the Florida House of Representatives.
Dr. Buchholz died at age 80 on October 28, 1965, and is buried in Gainesville's Evergreen Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, son William, and daughter Mary Buchholz Moran.
When Fritz Buchholz first came to Gainesville, the city's high school (for whites) was known as the Gainesville Graded & High School and was located in today's Kirby Smith building. Schools were segregated, and African American children attended the Union Academy. A separate building for Gainesville High School was not built until 1922, on West University Avenue, bounded by Southwest 2nd Avenue and 7th and 8th Streets. By this time, Prof. Buchholz was also serving as Superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools. Shortly after Prof. Buchholz retired, a new GHS was built at its present location at 1900 N.W. 13th Street, and the building on West University Avenue was renamed F. W. Buchholz Junior High School in 1955. Later, it became part of Santa Fe Junior College.
Buchholz contains two magnet programs: the Academy of Finance and the Academy of Entrepreneurship. As a result, the school contains a credit union known as the "Bobcat Branch," which is a division of the Florida Credit Union, and operated by students in the Academy of Finance. The "Spirit Spot" is a retail outlet whose products are envisioned and marketed by the Academy of Entrepreneurship.
The students hail from all over the city due to their county school board's zoning laws, and represent the vast ethnic and religious diversity that is ever-present in Gainesville.
A vast array of classes and activities are available to the student body, from "Student Cabinet" (a student-run organization designed to involve students in the affairs of the school) to Advanced Placement courses. Buchholz is also known locally for its school spirit in all facets of student activity within the school.
Students enroll from grades 9 through 12.
The school's marching band, the Golden Regiment, has received awards and accolades. In November 2000, the Golden Regiment marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and was the featured band performing live on NBC's Today Show. In 2008, the Golden Regiment progressed towards the Florida State Championships for the first time in history, claiming the fourth-place trophy in 5A category on November 22. In 2013, the band placed first in class 4A with their show "Carmen 2.0". The next year, the band won the same champion title with their show "Four", a depiction of the four seasons. In 2009, the Buchholz Wind Symphony performed at the Midwest Clinic. They also performed at Midwest in 2014, under the direction of Alex Kaminsky.
The Wind Symphony (the principal concert ensemble) performed at the College Band Directors National Association and National Band Association Southern Regional Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in February 2002. In December 2002, they were honored to perform at the Midwest Clinic, an International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago, Illinois. In 2006, the Wind Symphony was invited to the Grand National Adjudicators Invitational in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Wind Symphony was awarded Superior Scores from all adjudicators as well as the First Place Honor Band Award. The French Horns and the entire Woodwind Section were awarded Outstanding Sections. Two students received Outstanding Soloist Awards. This was all accomplished under the direction of Paula Thornton and Vicki Nolan.
The band was then placed under the direction of Alex Kaminsky. In 2009, under the direction of Kaminsky, The Wind Symphony traveled to New York City to perform in Carnegie Hall. The band received the Gold Level award for its performance. In the 2013 season, the band won the Florida Marching Band Coalition State Finals Competition in class 4A, with their show "Carmen 3.0". Following this, the Buchholz Wind Symphony performed for the FMEA State Convention, CBDNA/NBA Southern Division Conference, and the ABA National Convention. The subsequent marching season, the Golden Regiment again won the FMBC State competition with their show "4: A musical and visual depiction of the four seasons of the year." Most recently, the Wind Symphony was invited to play at the Midwest Clinic in December 2014, which they won.
As of 2015, the band is under the direction of Shawn Barat.
Buchholz has teams in the following sports: cross-country, track and field, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, football, Baseball/Softball, wrestling, girls' volleyball, men and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's golf, tennis, and weightlifting.
Buchholz's boys' track and field teams won the 1993 (4-A), 1994 (4-A), 1995 (5-A), and 2004 (4-A) state championships
Buchholz's boys' cross country team won the 1989 (3-A), 1990 (3-A), 1993 (4-A) and 1994 (5-A) state championships
Buchholz's football team won the 1990 state championship.
Buchholz's girls' volleyball won the 2007 6-A state girls' volleyball title.
Buchholz's girls' swimming/diving team won the 2009 3-A state title.
Buchholz's girls' basketball team won the 2013 7-A state title.
Buchholz's Golden Regiment won the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 4-A state title.
Buchholz's Math Team won the Florida Mu Alpha Theta State Title from 2005 to 2016 and the National Title from 2007 to 2016.B. Dan Berger, influential lobbyist in Washington, DC
Ken Block, lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Sister Hazel
Kevin Bradshaw, NCAA basketball record-holder for points in a single game
Lisa Nicole Carson, television and film actress
Malcolm Gets, actor, best known for playing Richard in the American television sitcom Caroline in the City (1995–1999)
Alexander Hammer, film and video editor; winner of the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards' Best Editing award
Pegeen Hanrahan, former Mayor of Gainesville, Florida
Ivy Joe Hunter, former NFL fullback for the Indianapolis Colts
Doug Johnson, former NFL quarterback
Billy Latsko, college football player for University of Florida and NFL Fullback
Vernon Maxwell, former NBA player
Marshall McDougall, NCAA baseball record-holder for most home runs in a single game
Andrew Miller, MLB pitcher; first round pick in the 2006 MLB Draft to the Detroit Tigers
Bernard Muir, Stanford University Athletic Director
Allison Silverman, former head writer and executive producer for The Colbert Report
Lamar Thomas, former NFL wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins