The Western Hills community encompasses the urban area surrounding the school, the Benbrook City area, parts of Fort Worth and the rural section west to the Tarrant County line. Formerly, the city of Benbrook had its own school system. In 1954, all Benbrook students above the sixth grade were transferred to the Fort Worth ISD. In 1962, the Benbrook School District was consolidated into the Fort Worth system, busing the high school students to North Side High School or Arlington Heights High School and its junior high schools to J.P. Elder or William Monnig Junior High.
Coke Smith, a member of the graduating class in 1971, grew up on the ranch where WHHS was built. It was owned by his grandfather, Boston Smith (The street that runs in front of the school was named after Boston Smith.) Mr. Coke Smith was also in the first group to go all the way through Waverly Park Elementary.
Western Hills was first opened on the campus of Arlington Heights High School in the fall of 1968 with 714 students crowded into thirteen temporary buildings. In January 1969, this student body proudly moved into its new home on the twenty-five acre tract in north Benbrook at 3600 Boston Avenue. It was a split-level building with a covered patio on the lower-level and all classrooms and offices on the top level.
In 1972, the steady growth and development of the district was reflected by the increase in enrollment from the original 714 to 2,243. The student body was housed not only in the main building on the one-level (top floor), but also in 23 portable buildings. In 1980, the student population started a steady decline to 2,052.
At the beginning of the 1980-1981 school year, the school building was expanded to two floors by enclosing the lower-level (covered patio) and eliminating the need for portable buildings. However, between 1991 and 2013, student enrollment continued to fluctuate, requiring 14 portable buildings to be added back to the campus, and students from Monnig Middle School began feeding into Arlington Heights. Western Hills enrollment ended the 2013 school year with 1,503 students.
In 2014, Benbrook Middle School opened their campus to 9th grade students and became a combination Middle-High School Program. This led to a steady decline in the Western Hills High School student enrollment with the community of Benbrook having two campuses to serve its students.
At the present time, Western Hills High School averages around 900 students.
History Photos 1969-1988
The Cougar in the front foyer was not a part of the original building. The Class of 1975 lovingly paid for it in memory of Carla Walker, a student who was kidnapped and later found strangled to death at Lake Benbrook.
A new tradition was then established about pride, respect, and honor as all students were reminded through daily announcements to NOT walk on the Cougar.