During Huntington's formative years in the early twentieth century, lack of educational facilities to accommodate the expanding population prompted the city to build a new school. Huntington High School was designed by Huntington resident, Versus T. Ritter. The school operated from 1916 to 1995 when Huntington High and Huntington East High schools were consolidated. The old Huntington High School building remained vacant until it became the Huntington Renaissance Center, which is a multipurpose community building that is a hub for visual and performing arts and YMCA activities, and it provides residential units for senior citizens of Huntington.
Local architect, Versus T. Ritter, built the Huntington High School building, Huntington City Hall, and Huntington National Bank Building, all of which are still standing today and have all been added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1887, the Cabell County School System created a three grade high school that met in the old Congregational Church along 5th Avenue, and later moved to Council Chambers of City Hall. In 1890, Huntington High held its classes in the Oley School Building, and graduated two students in the same year. In 1916, the students of Huntington High were gifted with a permanent address and were able to attend classes in a building that was an actual school. Huntington High was build with the capacity for 1,100 students, but had 2,198 students enrolled in 1928 and was forced to have two class sessions a day.
Huntington High added a gymnasium in 1951, and a cafeteria in 1956. The school functioned at this location until 1955, and a new Huntington High was opened in a new location in the fall of 1996. The new school building was built to accommodate the growing number of students in attendance, and consolidated Huntington High with Huntington East High. In 1998, the old Huntington High School remained vacant. An unknown number of people broke into the empty school and vandalized multiple floors of the building. Structural damage consisted of broken windows, holes in walls, and graffiti. It is unclear how the perpetrators entered the building. To this day no one was caught or brought into police custody.
Today the old Huntington High building is known as the Renaissance Center, and houses apartments for seniors, ARTS Resources for the Tri-State, and the Phil Cline Family YMCA. ARTS provides visual and performing arts for the Tri-State area such as a Tri-State Youth Orchestra, River Magic Chorus, a Fine Art Gallery, a photography studio and a year-round live theatre. The Phil Cline Familey YMCA offers Silver Sneakers and other senior programming, as well as several programs for kids, including Kids in Motion wellness classes, youth basketball and more. It also is home to the YMCA's child care program.