Prior to the opening of Dunbar High School, public education for black children in Lee County was limited to the eighth grade. With the opening of Dunbar, black students could now receive four years of high school education. Black students throughout Lee County, including Sanibel and Charleston Park, were bussed to Dunbar. Because there were no black high schools in Charlotte or Collier Counties, black students from those counties were also bussed to Dunbar until 1962.
The school became the hub of activity in the black community. In 1962, a new Dunbar High School was built on Edison Avenue. The original Dunbar High School became Dunbar Junior High from 1962 to 1964. In the fall of 1962, seventh and eighth grades joined the other high school students at the new Dunbar High School located on Edison Avenue.
The school building at High and Blount has been utilized for various educational functions over the years. At the beginning of desegregation in the 1970's, the school became a center for seventh grade students and was renamed Dunbar Community School. Later, the school became a center for adult and community education.