Albion Interactive History

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High School, 1906
 
     Renovated 1921

Builder +
Leon Claucherty, east wing, 1926

A new high school building was constructed in 1906-1907. The original 1872-built Central School building was demolished in June 1906, following the graduation of the Class of 1906. A new structure was erected closer to Michigan Avenue, at a cost of $30,000. The old east and west wings that had been added to the 1872 structure in 1885 and enlarged in 1893 were left intact, but now formed the rear of the school complex. The new building consisted of a central tower edifice, with classroom wings on both sides.

There was some controversy with delays in the construction of the new school. The September 1906 issue of The Breeze reported:

There have been many delays caused uselessly. A month was lost by an injunction served by a few property holders on Michigan Avenue, and after this was dissolved another difficulty faced the contractor - that of getting sufficient material with which to work. It took them considerable more time than they had anticipated to dig the basement. This was caused by the sand, which caved in almost as rapidly as it was dug out.

A large force of men are busy now and work is progressing as rapidly as can be expected. The structural iron is arriving, and it looks like the class of 1907 will have the distinction of being the first to graduate from the new building.

Unfortunately the construction took up the entire 1906-1907 school year, and the class of 1907 became known as the class without a school. During the 1906-1907 year, displaced students met at the Women's Christian Temperance Union building on 105 E. Erie Street, and at other downtown locations. The new high school building opened in September 1907, and the class of 1908 was the first to graduate from it. Contractor for the new school was a man by the name of Rickmond.

The ever increasing problem of dealing with overcrowded and limited facilities at the Central School location caused the board of education to make constant temporary adjustments. Although the erection of Dalrymple and Austin Schools had helped relieve room shortages, the Central School complex still not only contained the higher grades, but also elementary grades for students living in the vicinity of the school.

Conditions were still very crowded at Central. 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.

On July 14, 1921, George E. Dean, president of the school board, recommended that plans for building a new high school be inaugurated in the very near future. A special meeting was held on December 12, 1921, in which the board unanimously approved the issuing of $150,000 in bonds, payable at 5 1/2% interest, for the erection of a new west unit for the Central School. An election was held on January 4, 1922, and voters approved the proposition by 617 to 378.

The board immediately commenced to draw up plans. It authorized the purchase of the remaining private residences on the same block west of the Central School, and hired an architect, Rockwell Leroy, to execute the project. In March of 1922, the board awarded the building contract to DeRight Brothers of Kalamazoo for the sum of $114,408. Other firms were hired to install such items as plumbing, heating, and the new swimming pool. The bonds sold to help finance the new addition were purchased not only by state or local businessmen, but also by such agencies that included: the Republic of Cuba, the Swedish Government, the Government of the Philippine Islands, the Swiss Confederation, the Public Service Company of Illinois, and the Northern Iowa Gas & Electric Company. The usual bond investment was either $5,000 or $10,000.

High School in 1896.


Albion High School, completed in the fall of 1907.


1911 postcard showing Albion High School.

Source: Frank Passic. A History of the Albion Public Schools. Albion, Michigan: E. Weil Publishing Services. 1991.

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