Horizons High School opened its doors in 2001, but this was by no means the beginning of the school's history.
Located at the southwest corner of Johnson Drive and Lamar, the site was originally home to the Hickory Grove School. Hickory Grove was one of the first schools to be built in Johnson County. Originally built near the present-day Shawnee Mission North High School, Hickory Grove was relocated to 5900 Lamar in 1872. At 26x36 feet in size, it was known as the largest school in the county. This one-room school housed children until it was replaced in 1916 by a larger stone building, later destroyed by fire in 1949 and rebuilt again. Hickory Grove continued to operate as an elementary school for more than thirty years.
The Alternative Education Program (AEP) began in1972, starting in a warehouse. They were moved to the basement of Roesland Elementary in 1974, then on to Skyline School in Roeland Park the following year, and finally were granted access to the Hickory Grove school building in 1984.
In 1998 it was determined that the old Hickory Grove building would be demolished and a new school built in its place. During the construction process, AEP students moved to a temporary location, the Old Mission Multi-Use Center in Roeland Park.
When the school opened in August for the 2001-02 school year, it had a new name -- Horizons High School. Because the new building was designed with the unique requirements of the Alternative Education Program in mind, it was a much better fit for staff and students than the old elementary school building had been. New building features included central air conditioning, classroom telephones for every teacher, two computer labs, and windows in every classroom.