I've been curious about the building for a while. When I passed through Pembroke yesterday, I decided to stop and take a closer look. At the right side of the double doors, I found two plaques (pictured at left). They answered my question of whether the building was a government-funded project of the Depression. It was indeed a project of the Public Works Administration.
In the Kentucky New Era archives (viewed via Google news search), I found a little more information about the building's history. On October 14, 1938, the Pembroke superintendent of schools, Mr. L. W. Allen, said he was nearly ready for bids on the construction. A loan and a grant, $35,000 in total, had been approved by the Federal government, and the old, frame gymnasium had already been torn down to make room for the new one.
The new facility was to contain a manual training (shop) classroom and a home economics classroom. Shop and home economics classes had not previously been offered at Pembroke. However, the biggest room in the structure would be the new gymnasium.
Pembroke's new gym will have a basketball floor measuring 48 by 80 feet, which will probably be the second largest playing space in the county. Hopkinsville has the largest playing floor but county teams have maintained for years the Tigers' gym was entirely too large. The old Pembroke gym, although the scene of several important tournaments, was too small for real offensive play and had only a limited seating capacity and no out-of-bounds arrangements.The first basketball game in the new gym was scheduled for Friday, October 27, 1939. Pembroke's first and second teams played against Guthrie's first and second teams. Pat McCuiston was the coach of the Pembroke team. I did not find any information on who won the game.
Source: "Pembroke to Ask Bids on Project" by staff, Kentucky New Era, October 14, 1938.
A Halloween carnival was also held that night. The community was invited to come to the new facility and support their school. It was surely an exciting night for the students.
The new building was adjacent to the existing school. In September of 1940, the school building burned, but firefighters managed to save the gym. A newspaper story stated that a new building would be built so close to the gym that they would almost appear to be a single building. I am not sure whether that came to pass. There is an old, brick Pembroke School building located several blocks east of the Physical and Industrial Arts Building. The two buildings are very similar in architecture. That must surely be the new school that was built. Do you know this part of the story?
Pembroke High School was closed at the end of the 1957-1958 school year. Students from Pembroke High and other rural high schools of the county enrolled in a new school, the newly-formed Christian County High School, in September of 1959.