The construction of South Salem high school marked the first major construction of a secondary school in Salem in over 20 years. The new school was the brainchild of Frank B. Bennett, superintendent of District 24CJ schools from 1938 to 1952 who foresaw the influx of school-age population and the eventual need for a new secondary school. Architects Freeman, Hay slip, Tuft, and Hewlett were awarded the design con- tract and Contractors Donald M. Dranke and Company of Portland, broke ground for the new structure October 20, 1952. The massive U- shaped structure was completed.
Next year Ellen Hauge from Sweden who returned to her native country at mid-year. an Argentinian girl will be enrolled at South. Selected for summer exchange were students Jane Medaris, Nancy Denton, Ada Hartman, and John Hammerstad. The next year Gary Swicker and Bob Trelstad went abroad under ANS sanction. This year Jim Heltzel will spend a summer in Finland.
The name of the school newspaper, Clypian, was chosen from an Anglo Saxon word meaning “to call” and the annual name was also selected in keeping with the school nick-name of Saxons. School colors were Columbia Blue and Scarlet.