Hillside Elementary on the corner of 8th and Hillside was once the original home of Valley Junction High School. The high school opened its doors in September 1917 to 300 students with a staff of six. In 1923, Hillside Junior High was built in the cornfields east of the high school. Sixteen years later, a new football stadium was built north of the high school. In 1965, as the population increased the need for expansion caused the district to move Valley High to it’s current home on 35th street.
The old high school was then renamed Hillside Junior High and used as a junior high. Eventually, the building was torn down. The stadium however continued to be used until the fall of 2001. Soon discussions were underway to discuss the needed repairs for the stadium, Rex Mathes and Clegg Park Elementary Schools. The needed improvements proved to be too costly. The West Des Moines Community School District felt it was much more cost effective to reinvest in the area and rebuild a new elementary to accommodate students from Rex Mathes and Clegg Park. A design team was assembled in the fall of 2001. Within a year, plans were drafted, bids were submitted and approved, and construction began in the spring of 2003. It took a year to complete and in August 2004 over 75 staff members and 650 students from Rex Mathes and Clegg Park Elementary came together to form Hillside Elementary, a place for children to learn.
A learning place with a defined spirit has once again been created at 8th and Hillside. This place is the center of community where all are welcome to contribute and learn —where children are nurtured and lifted up. This place is Hillside Elementary School.