Through Schoolhouse Doors
Excerpt from: Through Schoolhouse Doors - A History of Lake County Schools
Rimes Elementary School was constructed in 1960 -61 and opened for its first classes in August, 1961. The school was located about two miles west from "downtown" Leesburg on Highway 468 in the community of Montclair. The school was named after one of Montclair's pioneer families.
The oridinal facility contained fourteen classrooms, library, cafetorium and an administrative suite which housed a clinic, lounge, reception area and offices. The cost fo the building, equipment and furniture was $298,750.
Rimes served the black communities of West Leesburg, Fruitland Park, Lady Lake, Okahumpka, Yalaha and Montclair. This construction eliminated the two three room schools in these outlying areas. The teachers of these schools became one staff under the leadership of Ned R. Richardson. The first staff consisted of thirteen teachers, one secretary, two custodians and a lunchroom staff of four. The pupil population during the first year averaged 380.
Mr. Richardson served at Rimes from its beginning until 1968. He was followed by Robert L. Miller who served until June 1970. The school became Leesburg's sixth grade facility and housed all of the areas sixth graders.
Middle School West was begun in the school year 1968-69, as Leesburg Sixth Grade School, on the campus of Oak Park School. After one year at that location it was moved to the former Rimes Elementary School on Highway 468A.
After two years as a sixth-grade school, the fifth grade was added, in the 1970-71 school year. The school board named the school Middle School West or Leesburg Fifth-Sixth School West.