Albion Interactive History / Austin School

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Buildings / Public Schools

Austin School, 1911
    Closed 1968

The school was constructed by local contractor Fred W.Schumacher. Classes opened at the facility in January 1912, and this enabled new assignments to be made. Elementary classes in the Central School complex on E. Michigan Avenue were transferred to Austin School. During the construction period in 1911, classes had already been reassigned.Some were held in the basement of the First Baptist Church on N. Superior Street, and some in the basement of the Salem Evangelical Church on W. Pine Street.

Original teachers at the Austin School included: Francis Drew, first grade, Ada Baird, second grade; Emma Meinke Blanchard, third grade; Bessie Waite, fourth grade; and Ruth Mannon, sixth grade. The janitor at the school was Frank Doyle.

The baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s went “bust” when it reached its peak during the 1970s and school enrollment began to drop rapidly. A severe economic recession in Albion during the 1970s sparked high unemployment, and tax revenues for the schools were greatly reduced. As people moved away, the number of students declined.

As a consequence, the school board decided to close Austin School, which was the oldest school in use in the city. It had long been observed that the children in Austin School were notreceiving the same quality educational opportunities which were available at other schools because the building did not contain adequate facilities: there was neither a gymnasium nor an auditorium. After a series of discussions and various proposals, Austin School was closed at the end of the 1967-68 school year. Its students were transferred to other elementary schools as boundaries were redrawn.

The school districts administrative offices and the offices of special services were moved out of Harrington School, and into Austin School. Vacant rooms at Austin School not usedfor administrative purposes became alternative classrooms for special education and problem students.

The Austin School, which was being utilized as the administration headquarters, was closed permanently at the end of December, 1970. Administrative offices were relocated on the third floor of the east wing of Washington Gardner Junior High School.

Charles F. Austin School, opened in January 1912.

Austin School served as administrative headquarters for the Albion Public Schools until it was permanently closed at the end of 1979.

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

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