In 1927, Wheatley High School was one of the largest Black high schools in the United States with 2,600 students and 60 teachers, and it was such throughout the segregation era. By 1949 Wheatley's first facility on Lyons Avenue became so overcrowded that students attended in shifts. During that year the 14-acre (57,000 m2), $2.5 million 4900 Market Street campus opened. The most expensive high school built in Houston at the time, the campus was designed by the firm MacKie & Kamrath in a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced modernist style. The campus, described by the Houston Chronicle as "the finest Negro high school in the South," had a 1,500-seat auditorium, a gymnasium, an industrial arts facility, and a swimming pool. The school district spent attention on Wheatley in order to promote the argument that segregated minority schools can be equal to segregated White schools. The former Wheatley campus became E.O. Smith Middle School, and later the Carter Career Center. Wheatley has produced a lot of influential people such as El Franco Lee, Mickey Leland, Barbara Jordan, Cliff Johnson, Ruth Simmons, Dwight Elmo Jones, to name a few. Wheatley High School also has a rich history in sports.