The school was established in 1962 by the Carleton Board of Education as a public high school, and named after Richard E. Bell. It has a number of specialist programs such as French immersion, ESL, Special education, and a Gifted Education program, with an enrolment of 1,051 students supported by 74 staff members.
Its building is in the shape of an "E", with a long stretch containing the main offices, guidance office, cafeteria, library, gym and locker rooms, and three wings; one for Science/Language Arts, another for English/Math,the last for Technology/Arts, and a separate room above the main foyer for visual art classes.
The school grounds contains a football/soccer field, greenhouse, baseball diamond and track. It is located next to Bell Arena.
Bell High School also has a very active students' council, which runs dances, spirit days, fundraisers, leadership camps, and other fun events.
Bell High School is well known for its vocals and drama programs. Every year, Bell High School participates in the Sears Drama Festival, and always does exceedingly well. The numerous awards won from past performances can be found on the wall beside the drama room as well as inside the room itself. Bell used to have musicals every year until the 2005-2006 school year. The last musical performed was Wizard of Oz during the 2005-2006 school year.
The school has many extracurricular sports teams including: soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, field hockey, rugby, cross-country running, nordic skiing, alpine skiing, hockey, track and field, curling, and wrestling. It also has many extracurricular clubs including: Yearbook, Students' Council, Athletic Council, KEY (Kiwanis Educating Youth) Club, PEACE (People Enthusisatic About Cultural Equality) Club, Interact, OSAID (Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving), EarthCARE, BISA (Bell Islamic Student Association), Anime, AV (Audio-Visual), Breakfast Club (Bell's Christian group), Debate Club, Reach for the Top and many more.
There are 8 OC Transpo buses in the "600 series" that drop off and pick up students at the school.
Bell's mascot is the Bruin (a bear). The school colours used to be brown and gold, but were changed to red, black and white when a certain sport's team could not find uniforms in the colours brown and gold. The colours brown and gold are being brought back as school clothing is now being offered in both the retro colours, as well as the current colours. Both are popular among the students and staff.