Central Elementary School - Kelowna, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 52.875 W 119° 29.283
11U E 321259 N 5528396
Built with all the modern conveniences of 1913, including toilets and lavatories in the basement, somewhat strangely, also included were the more traditional outhouses in the playground.
Waymark Code: WM130G4
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 08/20/2020
Views: 0

A classical Beaux-Arts styled building, Kelowna's Central Elementary School is lauded as "still the most impressive school building in Kelowna" by Historic Places Canada. The two storey brick and stone school was built in 1913 and has remained in continuous use as a school since 1914.

No longer an elementary school, for several years the building has been the Kelowna home to eSchoolBC, a Blended and Online Learning facility. Primarily, the facility provides online learning programs and classes for kindergarten through grade 12, following the standard school district calendar with classes/courses beginning in September and closing at the end of June. Also offered are adult education and Digital Communications courses.

Following is text from the historical marker on the building.
Central Elementary School
The City of Kelowna's Heritage Registry describes Central Elementary School as "the most impressive school building in Kelowna....as a result of its high quality. Beaux-Arts architectural presence and its role as a symbol of a progressive and stable public education system in the communitv." In the years immediately preceding World War 1 Kelowna's population grew considerably. A new elementary school was desperately required, replacing the earlier Board School and freeing up the newly-built high school, then being temporarily used by local younger students.

Central School was designed by Lethbridge architect George E. Nobles and was built by contractor Alfred Ivey. Cost of construction of this two-storey brick building was S75,000. Construction was completed in late 1913 and classes commenced in January 1914. Price Ellison, British Columbia's Minister of Finance and Agriculture, officially opened Central School on January 20, 1914. Kelowna Mayor J.W. Jones and Kelowna School Board Chairman J.A. Bigger proudly looked on, supported by a large crowd of excited pupils and townspeople. The January 22, 1914 edition of "The Kelowna Orchard City Record" reported that, "The school, which covers an area of 85 by 125 feet contains ten large classrooms, each 24 by 32 feet, a large auditorium or assembly hall, 44 by 70 feet, two teachers' rooms, with wardrobes, cupboards for storage, etc., in fact every inch of space had been profitably utilized in some way or other."

It was designed to impress local residents, prominently set on a raised earth mound, with broad front steps flanked by massive columns. It is a fine example of the marriage of Neoclassical and Georgian Revival and Beaux-Arts. Central School boasted electric lights, running water, and toilets and lavatories in the basement, although there were outhouses located in the back field. Central School has faithfully served Kelowna residents since 1914 and thousands of students have passed through its doors. It continues in its role as an educational facility, serving as a tangible link between our past, present, and future.
Central Elementary School
The historic place is the imposing and classical two-storey, red brick Central Elementary School, built in 1913 at 1825 Richter Street in Kelowna's South Central neighbourhood.

This building, still the most impressive school building in Kelowna, has significant heritage value as a result of both its high quality, Beaux-Arts architectural presence and its role as a symbol of a progressive and stable public education system in the community.

The new school was required because of the rapid population growth in pre-WWI Kelowna, which had already overcrowded the latest public school opened in 1910 (see 1633 Richter Street).

Designed by architect George E. Nobles of Lethbridge, and built in 1913 by contractor Alfred Ivey, Central Public School was intended to impress. It adopted classical features of the Neoclassical and Georgian Revivals, set within the formality of Beaux-Arts planning. The cost of the two-storey brick building and its furnishings was a high $75,000. It was set on a raised earth mound on a 4-acre site, the broad front steps flanked by massive columns. It had ten classrooms and an auditorium. The latest amenities were installed: electric lights, running water, and toilets and lavatories in the basement. (There must have been some distrust of such new-fangled devices, since the 1914 Fire Insurance Map shows that the more traditional outhouse buildings were located in the back field, one for each sex, reached by wooden boardwalks from the building.)

Construction was completed in 1913 (as noted above the main door) and classes commenced in January 1914. The school was officially declared open on 20 January 1914 by Price Ellison, the Provincial Minister of Finance and Agriculture, in a ceremony attended by Mayor J.W. Jones, School Board chairman J.A. Biggar, and a large audience of pupils and townspeople. It was evident that the City and the Province appreciated the significance of the new building.

DeHart Avenue Primary School was opened at the east end of the grounds in 1928 and the present building became Central Elementary School. An administration office was added at the rear between the two wings in 1956, and in 1964 an activity room at the rear, connected by a breezeway. Meanwhile the original upstairs auditorium had been converted to three classrooms, and the girls' basement playroom was now the lunchroom and library, while the boys' playroom was now a temporary classroom.

The building is still in use, having recently been the French-immersion primary school for some years. It now houses several special programs of School District 2.

The character-defining elements of the Central Elementary School include:
- Formal Beaux-Arts-inspired plan, with a recessed central wing, projecting side wings, and columned entries on all four sides
- Classical treatment of detail, owing something to the Neoclassical Revival and Georgian Revival, as seen in features such as the two-storey frontispiece, featuring free-standing columns, attached pilasters, and a pediment; and in the quoins, entablature, arched doorways on the side wings
- Red brick walls with grey stone trim and terra cotta details
- Concrete block foundation
- Symmetrical 5-bay front elevation with a central entrance
- Strong demarcation of the foundation and roof in the horizontal bands and cornice
- Two wings extending forward and back, forming an H-shaped plan
- Wood double-hung windows, with six-over-six panes, stone lintels, and stone sills
- Brick soldier courses seen at some window lintels
From Historic Places Canada
Photo goes Here
Central Elementary School - 1920 >> 2015
Photo goes Here
Central Elementary School - 2015 >> 1920
Type of Marker: Cultural

Type of Sign: Historic Site or Building Marker

Describe the parking that is available nearby: Street parking is available near the school

What Agency placed the marker?: City of Kelowna

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