Fairview Elementary School in 1957
Parkview Elementary School in 1957
Posted November 13, 2017
NOTE: Material for this article was taken from “Plymouth Joint School District No. 8: One Hundred Twenty Years of Progress 1847-1967” compiled by Clara Graef Stienecker of the PHS Class of 1914.
Just about 60 years ago, Fairview and Parkview elementary schools first opened their doors to students.
Like many other U.S. cities, Plymouth experienced a Baby Boom after World War II. By 1950, there was a rapid increase in school enrollment, which was expected to double by 1960. Classrooms were set up in the basement of the old school building constructed in 1893, the basement of the library, the American Legion, and a room in the new St. John’s Lutheran School.
In 1955, a Citizen’s Advisory Committee was formed to explore what was needed, what was being done elsewhere, and what building sites were available. The committee considered whether there should be an addition to the high school (the current Riverview Middle School building) and whether there should be one or two new elementary schools. In the end, the committee recommended two elementary schools – one on each side of the city – and an addition to the high school, expected to cost a total of $875,000.
The City Council initially voted in September 1955 to issue $1.25 million in bonds, but that was repealed in October. A new resolution to issue $875,000 in bonds was passed in December. In January 1956 a petition was presented to put question to voters, who in April approved the borrowing 663-549.
By then, however, the construction costs of the two elementary schools had risen from $692,000 to $824,000, so the decision was made to put the high school project on hold. (The high school had to use every available inch of space for classes – including the stage and the youth center – and the 7th and 8th grades were housed at the new elementary schools. In 1962 voters approved $2.8 million in bonding to construct the current high school building, which opened in 1967.)
The new elementary schools were designed by Edgar A. Stubenrauch & Associates. They were as alike as possible, except Fairview was somewhat larger due to special education programs included in that building.
“The construction emphasized simplicity and the use of modern materials throughout,” according to the district’s historical account. “One special feature much appreciated by both teachers and pupils was the small study alcove in each room above second grade.”
Classes moved in during the middle of the 1957-58 school year. Fairview was dedicated Oct. 29, 1958, and Parkview on Nov. 9, 1958. During one of the ceremonies, state Superintendent George E. Watson said, “In dedicating this modern type of building, offering many educational advantages at an economical cost, the school board, architect, and builders are to be congratulated for their foresight in providing the facilities which will prove of incalculable value in future years.”
In 1960, the main hallway at Parkview was extended to add bathrooms and four classrooms. Both schools had additions in 1985, including two classrooms at the end of the lobby hallway at Parkview, and the wing now housing third- and fourth-grade classrooms at Fairview.
The 1950s and 1960s saw numerous other changes within the district: