Preservation

School renovation re-revisited

Regular readers of this blog may remember that my elementary school, built in 1931, has been undergoing extensive renovation and expansion over the past year and a half. The work is done and students again fill the hallways. But now the school is larger, air conditioned, wired – and, I hope, ready to serve for at least another 79 years.

James Monroe School

I pressed my camera to the glass of the Donmoyer Avenue main entry door. I love seeing that the inner entryway was left intact. The blonde doors appear to be new, and it’s curious that they weren’t finished to match the rest of the arched entry. I am a little puzzled over the next set of doors. I remember there being a sizeable area past these doors before reaching the building’s main hallway – is that hallway now behind a third set of entry doors?

James Monroe School

This is the view from the Carroll Street entry door on the school’s west end. If you look at the photo at full size, the first arched classroom entryway appears to have been filled in. Low false ceilings have been installed as well, reducing the airy, open feeling of the hallway.

James Monroe School

This photo, also from a door on the Carroll Street side, is of the ramp leading up to the 1960s addition. Through the opposite door is a glimpse of the new inner courtyard.

James Monroe School

I moved around to the building’s east side, along Fellows Street, and peered in the new entrance there. This appears to be where the newest addition connects to the 1960s addition, which I think begins where the gray flooring begins in this photo.

James Monroe School

That new entrance is at right, under the awning, in the photo below. I’m really happy with how the new space is sympathetic to the old. The 1960s addition, which never looked very much like the rest of the school, has even been made to look more harmonious.

James Monroe School

This is the arch to the former Kindergarten playground. The exterior doors from the two Kindergarten classrooms are gone; this courtyard is now home to heating and cooling units. Notice also the dark-framed windows. I wish a lighter frame could have been chosen as it would have looked more original. But these windows appear to open, and they appear to contain screens. When I was a student here, opening the windows always invited flies.

James Monroe School

Of course, replacing the worn-out slate roof with another slate roof would have cost too much. Fortunately, the shingles chosen look kind of like the old slate roof. Slate remains on minor roof sections, as shown here. The gutters appear to be copper, as the original gutters were.  I love seeing them, but wonder how they’ll not get stolen, as the original gutters were.

James Monroe School

School officials promise an open house in late October. I hope I’m able to get away to attend!

Check out some photos I took during the demolition phase and some photos I took during the construction phase.

Last updated on 23 February 2020 by Jim Grey

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