On October 7th, 1963, the Ohio state legislature enabled county boards of education to establish vocational districts. On March 2nd, 1964, Garrison Finzer of Sugarcreek, representing the County Board of Education was selected Chairman, Kenneth Bartter of Dover representing the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce was elected Vice-Chairman, and Alga Weaver, County Home Extension Agent, was elected Secretary of the Buckeye Joint Vocational Board. The meeting was attended by two representatives of the State Department of Education and all members of the Board were present.
However, it was ten years later and after six different configurations had been voted down that a four member board comprised of a representative from Strasburg, New Philadelphia, Dover, and Conotton Valley submitted a bond issue which passed. Voters in the four districts, at one time or another had favored a JVS, and on November 1974 their 3 mill levy passed. Strasburg Board of Education acted as the sponsoring organization with Paul Taylor, acting-superintendent. After approval by the State Board of Education, the remaining school districts of Tuscarawas County then joined by Board action. Carrollton and East Holmes soon followed. Last to join was Newcomerstown. All told, eleven school districts with territory in five counties comprised the Buckeye JVS.
In November 1973, a three-way land deal between Buckeye JVS, the county commissioners, and the trustees of Tuscarawas Campus of Kent State University took place to purchase the site. Later that year, the location of the school was moved about 1/4 mile down University Drive from its original site (currently the location of Kent's soccer field) to its present day site. The original land acquisition of 63 acres was augmented by 12 acres from private land owners to "square up" the site.
As 1974 dawned, numerous difficulties were encountered in seeking state matching funds. State Senator Douglas Applegate, D-Steubenville, introduced special legislation intended to secure the funds, and in March 1974 the Ohio Controlling Board released $3.2 million for construction. In June, an additional $1,163,099 was secured from federal Appalachia funds.
Ohio Governor John Gilligan attended the groundbreaking ceremonies on September 17th, 1974. Designed by Bruce Huston of Huston Associates, the building on University Drive in New Philadelphia with five acres under one roof is one of the largest in the state. It was finished ahead of schedule and dedicated on August 15th, 1976.
The Buckeye JVS Board, formed in 1973, was comprised of:
- C. Robert Thomas, president,Tuscarawas County Board of Education
- Martin Sand, vice-president, New Philadelphia
- Kenneth Kohl, Tuscarawas County Board of Education
- Joanne Limbach, New Philadelphia
- LaVerne King, Dover
- James Zifer, Dover
- Clyde Barthalow, Newcomerstown
- Ronald Davis, Carrollton
- George McCullough, Harrison County
- Lawrence Nickles, Holmes County
- Roy Scott, Claymont
Superintendents Who Have Served Buckeye:
- Paul Taylor (1970-1973)
- Joseph Carlisle (1973-1989)
- William Hackman (1989-1992)
- C. Eugene Fries (1992-2005)
- Dr. Paul Hickman (2005-2011)
- Roger Bond (2011-present)
Buckeye JVS opened its doors on September 8th, 1976 to the following schools:
- Conotton Valley
- East Holmes
- Indian Hills Christian
- Indian Valley North
- Indian Valley South
- New Philadelphia
- Tuscarawas Valley
- Carrollton St. Edwards
- Tuscarawas Central Catholic
A staff of 79 teachers, administrators, and Maintenance personnel were on hand for the opening of the school. Thirty-two areas of vocational instruction were offered to 825 juniors from the various schools as well as five adult education programs. Students were bused (or drove) from their home school to classes but remained students of their parent school and continued to participate in such extra-curricular activities as sports and band at their home school.
The school has evolved to meet the changing occupational landscape. One of the most well known changes has been the name: from Buckeye Joint Vocational School to Buckeye Career Center in October, 1994.
Buckeye operates satellite programs at Hiland, Berlin, Tuscarawas Valley, Claymont, Dover, and Carrollton.