In 1924 the Bernards Township Board of Education adopted its first plan for a high school building. At this time Bernardsville was a part of Bernards Township. When Bernardsville separated from Bernards Township, the schools still remained one system until 1947 when the original high school became the property of Bernardsville. From 1948, however, Bernards Township students continued attending Bernardsville High School as tuition students.
It was at about this time that school boards of nine or ten communities in the Somerset Hills area met to address the impending secondary school problem. They envisioned a cooperative regional school. Nothing, however, was done until 1956 when Bernards Township created its first junior high, Oak Street Junior High.
By April 1959, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Bedminster, Peapack Gladstone, and Far Hills tried passing two referendums neither of which would have provided for a small regional school. Neither of the referendums were approved by all of the districts. The regionalization was not accepted. At this point, the Bernards Township Board of Education lost no time in preparing a proposal to build and operate its own high school. On October 6, 1959, the voters of Bernards Township endorsed this idea with enthusiasm and approved a referendum calling for a bond issue of $1,532,000 to build and equip a high school. The vote was 918 for and 247 against.
Contracts for the new high school were let out in May of 1960. Plans called for the completion of the building by July of 1961. Ridge High School, its associated athletic fields, and the Cedar Hill School were built on approximately 60 acres of land donated to the Bernards Township Board of Education by the Lee Family.
Ridge opened in September 1961 with a student population of 492 students in grades 9 through 12. The rising seniors were brought back from Bernardsville High School to become the first graduating class of the new high school. The rising grades 9, 10, and 11 came from Oak Street Junior High.
The original building provided twenty-three classrooms, a two station gymnasium, and administrative and guidance offices. The building was built with a maximum capacity of 670 students and by 1964 the enrollment grew to 640. A new referendum was approved for the addition of nine standard classrooms, five special area classrooms, and another gym station. Existing modifications were also made to two science labs, the home economics room, typing room, and the guidance offices. The new addition completed in 1966 would allow Ridge to grow to 1100.
Ridge did grow and so did the other township schools; Ridge from 492 in 1961 to 925 in 1969; the district enrollment from 1,694 in 1961 to 3,700 in 1969.Ridge became a senior high school (grades 10, 11, and 12) when Annin opened as a junior high school in 1969; after another addition was completed in 1982, it returned to a full four-year institution and Annin became a middle school.
An addition to Ridge High School during 1999 included an entirely new wing. Inside the modern, low-slung building, students are still researching in the library, practicing cheers in the hallway, talking to teachers, playing intramurals in the gym, groaning about tests, holding conferences with their counselors exchanging help on homework, chatting with friends, attending club activities, playing sports, and discussion important school problems.
The building and its occupants constitute more than an institution; they are a national society in miniature, a society that is so young that its frontiers continue to challenge its people's traditions are being practiced and reinforced new customs are being formed-there is an ever present current of vitality and importance underlying this community life.