Cedar Rapids School District ponders future of buildings
The Cedar Rapids Community School District is examining its facilities master plan, with changes, and potentially school closures, on the horizon.
Mark Stoffer Hunter, Cedar Rapids historian and a board member of Save CR Heritage, offered the following insight into the history of each of the schools in the district:
1.Arthur School, 2630 B Ave. NE: original structure built in 1914-1915. Had 100th birthday celebration last year; original structure has unique “fortress” style architecture.
2.Garfield School, 1201 Maplewood Drive NE: original structure built in 1914-1915. Had 100th birthday celebration last year; original structure has very unique Egyptian style columns on either side of the front doors.
3. McKinley Middle School, 620 10th St. SE. Built 1921-1922.
4. Roosevelt Middle School, 300 13th St. NW. Built 1922
5. Franklin Middle School, 300 20th St. NE. Built 1923
6. Wilson Middle School, 2301 J St. SW. Built 1924
All four of these are splendidly designed in the “Gothic Revival” style of revival architecture of the 1920’s.
All four middle schools were doubled in size with 1934-35 additions in preparations for them to be six year high schools from 1935-1957.
Renowned artist Grant Wood taught at McKinley School when it was new in 1922.
7. Harrison School, 1310 11th St. NW: only elementary school built by the Cedar Rapids School District between 1921 and 1949. Harrison was opened in 1930 and had to be built after the Old Harrison School was burned in a fire at a different location. Harrison is very unique with its wonderful English Tudor design and interior murals created by artist William Henning, a contemporary of Grant Wood.
8. Kenwood School, 3700 E Ave. NE. Built 1949.
9. Cleveland School, 2200 1st Ave. NW. Built in 1950.
10. Grant Wood School, 645 26th St. SE Built in 1950.
The original sections of Kenwood, Cleveland and Grant Wood School maintain much of their circa 1950 architectural character.
11. Hoover School, 4141 Johnson Ave. NW. Opened 1955. President Hoover was here for the groundbreaking of this in 1954.
12. Erskine School, 600 36th St. SE. Opened 1955. Named for Dr. Arthur Erskine, Cedar Rapids doctor who pioneered radiology technology.
13. Wright School, 1524 Hollywood Blvd. NE. Opened 1955. Shaped like an airplane when seen from above to honor the memory of the Wright Brothers and their three year history of living in Cedar Rapids from 1878-1881.
14.Hiawatha School, 603 Emmons St., Hiawatha. Also from the mid 1950’s.
15. Washington High School at Forest Drive SE. Opened 1957
16. Jefferson High School at 20th Street SW. Opened 1957.
The following Cedar Rapids schools all date to 1961:
17. Grant School, 254 Outlook Dr. SW
18.Madison School, 1341 Woodside Dr. NW
19.Truman School, 441 West Post Road NW
Truman School is architecturally significant with a very 1961 look and is identical to the old Fillmore School at E Avenue and 11th Street NW that is now owned by Linn County government.
Last year, three Cedar Rapids schools that opened in 1965 became 50 years old, making them eligible for historic status:
20. Pierce School, 4343 Marilyn Drive NE (just off 42nd Street NE)
21.Harding Middle School, 4801 Golf St. NE (Noelridge Park)
22. Taft Middle School, 5200 E Ave. NW
Taft and Harding Middle Schools were designed by the Cedar Rapids architectural firm of Kohlman-Eckman-Hukill and are famous for their domes.
Next year, in 2017, two more schools opened in 1967 will be eligible for historic status as well:
23. Coolidge School, 6225 1st Ave. SW
24. Kennedy High School, 4545 Wenig Road NE
That leaves the following schools whose primary structures are less than 50 years old:
-Metro High School(formerly Tyler) and Johnson in the SE quadrant
-Taylor and Van Buren in the SW quadrant
-Jackson in the NW quadrant
-Polk, Nixon & Viola Gibson in either NE quadrant or Hiawatha