DOWNEY – Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard was one of several dignitaries to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to open the new William L. Walker Hall at Downey High School, a 58,574. sq. ft. facility housing 27 new technology-equipped classrooms. The facility also houses the school’s administration offices, and will allow for the removal of 30 bungalows from the school campus.
The grand opening comes at the closing stages of Measure D, a school bond measure that was passed by voters in 2002.
Walker Hall is named after William L. Walker, former superintendent of the Downey school district.
Walker was born in Stephen, Minn. and moved to California where he received his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He started his career at Downey High School, also known as Downey Union High School, as the Junior High School Principal in 1930. (The junior high school was technically part of the high school).
In 1942 he became superintendent of the Downey Union High School District, but in 1947 he was stricken with a heart attack, and left for a year. In 1948, he returned at his own request, taking the job of teacher and counselor. He was a counselor until 1957 when he retired.
Before he retired, staff, administration and students honored him by holding a “Bill Walker Day” to pay him respect for all his guidance and dedication. In total, Walker devoted 29 years to the Downey District.
In 1959, to honor Walker for his dedication to the Downey Unified School District, the administration building was named in his honor.
Walker’s son was killed during WWII. A photograph of him hangs in the B Building, along with 15 other former students who died in the conflict.
Published: Oct. 2, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 25