Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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WASHINGTON GARDNER HIGH SCHOOL Part 3
ALBION HIGH SCHOOL ADDITION ERECTED IN 1922-23

Morning Star, January 31, 2021, pg. 4

WASHINGTON GARDNER HIGH SCHOOL Part 1

WASHINGTON GARDNER HIGH SCHOOL Part 2

We continue with our topic about the history of the Washington Gardner High School building in Albion, a formidable structure now owned by Albion College. It was the culmination of several building projects accomplished through the years. This week we’ll feature the west side of the building, erected in 1922-23 as the High School addition.

Following the end of World War I, conditions at Central School had become very overcrowded. All grades attended the Central School complex, despite elementary schools operating elsewhere in town. A lack of room had forced the board of education to discontinue certain high school subjects in 1921 such as physical geography, biology, and others in specific grades, and the consolidation of other classes. As a result, voters approved a $150,000 bond issue in January, 1922 to erect a high school wing to be attached to the main 1907-built Central School. Bonds were issued in $1,000 denominations to finance the project.

The architect for the project was Rockwell Leroy. The DeRight Brothers of Kalamazoo was awarded to execute the project. The new wing was designed to house the high school grades. It contained ten classrooms, three laboratories, a lecture room, and rooms for art, mechanical drawing, wood shop, sewing, cooking, as well as a gymnasium and a swimming pool.

With the completion of this project, both the high school and junior high school grades held classes here, as well as in the 1907-erected Central School. Enrollment for grades 7-12 was 690 students. The elementary grades held classes in the old east wing at the rear of the building.

The total cost of the building and equipment came to $174,000, and construction occurred in 1922-23. The new addition was dedicated on May 9, 1923. A cornerstone was laid in the southwest corner of the building which states "HIGH SCHOOL 1922," and still remains there today. Wouldn’t it be appropriate if the cornerstone could be opened on its 100th anniversary in 2022 or 2023? An inventory of the box could be made, as well as an historical display of its contents.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present an artist’s rendition of the proposed High School addition (on the left) attached to the 1907-erected Central School (on the right). The actual structure design remained faithful to this drawing. How many of our readers went to Washington Gardner High School?


An artist’s rendition of the proposed High School addition

Next: ALBION 100 YEARS AGO—FEBRUARY 1921

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