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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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KCKS Public School System, 1819-1961
by Nellie McGuinn
Copyright USD 500, Feb 1966

Return to Previous Section 1954


Many residents of the city, especially those north of Minnesota Avenue and east of Fifth Street , were occupying homes and store buildings long rated as sub-standard. Recognizing the need for rehabilitation in blighted areas, Mayor Paul J. Mitchum and Commissioners Earl Swarner and Joseph Regan took the first legal steps to redevelopment of an area from Third to Fifth Street and Minnesota to Freeman.

Work on the new Grant School at Fourth and Freeman began on January 30. The fifteen-room building was under construction by Ballanti and Welsh. Morse was nearing completion. Children occupied the second floor of the new building at Noble Prentis early in January. The old building had been razed to complete the project which now formed an L-shaped building of 13 rooms with kindergarten, activity and library rooms.

Plans were made in March for new Bryant and Frances Willard Schools. Several buildings were under way by September when the last of the 1953 bonds were sold to J. P. Morgan and Company. The elementary and junior high schools at 43 rd and Georgia, later to be separate schools, contained ten rooms for the grades and eight, plus special rooms, for the junior high school. The gymnasium would be used also as an auditorium until the latter was completed. Bob Eldridge was the contractor.

On the site of the former north building in Argentine, construction continued on eleven classrooms and an auditorium seating 1250 people.  At Rosedale the oldest of the buildings was razed to make room for music, journalism, mechanical arts, and drawing rooms.  A double gym would serve two classes at one time.  The old building was extensively remodeled.  A one-story building of two classrooms would connect the two buildings.  Bennett Construction Company planned to have the school ready by November, 1956.

An addition of ten rooms, health room, library and office was completed by September, 1955, at Eugene Ware.  Plans for Snow School were discussed.  Two new schools opened and were dedicated in November.  The Thomas A. Edison, south of Rosedale at 10th and Locust, was a one-story brick of eleven rooms.  The school was in the school district, but the area was not part of the city.  Two hundred children transferred from Maccochaque to Thomas A. Edison.  W. A. Bailey spoke at the dedication.  Raymond E. Meyn was the architect and M. J. Gorzik, contractor.  Etta Mae Conrad was the first principal.

Morse, second of the new schools to be completed, held Open House and a dedicatory program on November 17.  The old building on Miami and Baltimore was razed and replaced by an eight-room brick.  The speaker was J. C. Harmon, former Argentine High School principal.  Earl R. Wilson and Robert E. Earnheart designed the building.  William Rawlings erected it. 

Noble Prentis children spent December 4th moving into the second and third floor additions.  With the aid of chalk marks to guide them, the boys moved much of the lighter equipment.  The enrollment at Noble Prentis at 14th and Gibbs Road had nearly doubled in the past three years and classes had been on half-day sessions.

On December 21st, the contract for a new Snow School on West 43rd between Fisher and Booth was let to William S. Rawlings Construction Company.  The school would replace the one at Minnie and Fisher and would consist of nine rooms, a kindergarten, library, and activity rooms on a 6.85 acre tract.  The pitched roof with marble chips was planned to blend with the type used in the neighborhood.  The board decided that Bryant at 17th and Webster and the Central Junior auditorium would be the first projects for 1956.

When Ralph Fulton resigned from the board in January to run for mayor, Roy A. Edwards replaced him.  On April 12, the board employees voted to accept an extended Social Security program in connection with their own retirement program.  Dr. Jonas Salk on April 12th told of his anti-polio vaccine.  In an address to teachers, Mr. Schlagle cited Dr. Salk as an example of a benefactor coming from New York's underprivileged East Side.  In earlier times, educational opportunities might have been denied such a person.

Next Section   1956

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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