Edwards School


Ames Daily Tribune, September 14, 1951

The cornerstone of the David Edwards school, under construction on Woodland avenue in the Fourth ward, was laid at 11:45 a.m. yesterday in a brief ceremony witnessed by school officials.

A container holding various documentary material was placed into the cornerstone and mortar was placed over it by Prof. L.O. Stewart, a member of the board of education.  The informal affair lasted only a few minutes.  A formal dedication of the building will be conducted after the building is completed.

Materials placed into the cornerstone included a copy of the 1950-51 annual report, "Our Schools": the annual budget and financial reports, dated July 1, 1951; statistical reports of enrollment as of Sept. 10, 1951; directories of Ames public schools for 1950-51 and 1951-52.

Also included were a copy of plans drawn up by the board of education that preceded the present building program entitled, "The Board of Education Presents Plans for the Necessary Enlargement and Improvement of Our School System"; notes for the meeting of the Ames Board of Education of Sept. 10, 1951; summary of the principals' meeting, Aug. 27, 1951, local newspapers containing publicity concerning the Edwards school; and current issues of the Ames Daily Tribune.


Ames Daily Tribune, September 3, 1952

Two hundred and one eager pupils walked through the doors of Edwards school Tuesday.  It was the second time in two consecutive years that a brand new modern school has opened in Ames.  As in other schools, pupils at Edwards got acquainted with their teachers and with each other, but they had an added treat, too.  Each class was conducted on a tour of the new building to satisfy an overflowing curiosity about things new.  And to start the new year off right, some schoolwork was accomplished, too.

Children from five to 12 years of age are attending Edwards.  Unlike Meeker last year, the school opened with all six elementary grades plus two sections of kindergarten. (When Meeker opened last year it had two sections each of kindergarten through grade three.  This year it has two sections each of kindergarten through grade two and one section each of third and fourth grades.)

the opening of Edwards school this year has meant relief from crowded conditions at Welch and Crawford.  Although opening day enrollment Tuesday at all schools was nearly 200 more than last year's, enrollments at both Welch and Crawford showed decreases.  Those decreases represented part of the 201 enrollment at Edwards.

Edwards' first principal is Elmer Aurand who for the past four years has been industrial arts teacher at Ames high and Central junior high.  Aurand is a graduate of Iowa State college with both bachelor of arts and masters degrees in industrial education.

Teachers at Edwards are Marjorie E. Fisher, kindergarten; Suanne Peterson, first grade; Betty Lou Jones, second grade; Alice Evans, third grade; Marilyn Anderson, fourth grade; Mrs. Helen Wattonville, fifth grade, and Mrs. Janet Lorenzon, sixth grade.  Bayerd Lande is custodian.

Miss Fisher, Miss Peterson and Mrs. Lorenzen are new this year to the Ames school system.  Miss Jones and Miss Evans are transfers from Welch, Miss Anderson is a transfer from Crawford, and Mrs. Wattonville is a transfer from Roosevelt.

Construction at Edwards is practically finished.  Only major items left are the completion of the kitchen and the hanging of draperies in the auditorium.  (Meeker, at its opening last year, had only four out of seven classrooms actually in use.  Pupils attended half-day sessions until all classrooms were completed.)

Edwards, like Meeker, combines the latest innovations in school construction.  The motivating idea behind both buildings was to provide education with emphasis on the individual.  All of the school's physical features were designed with this thought in mind.  Both new schools were built from nearly identical blueprints except for minor variations required by a smaller land area at Edwards.  The Fourth Ward's new school has about five acres of land, just about half that at Meeker.

Walking into Edwards the visitor finds a modern foyer of brick walls and floor enhanced by a fireplace and floor to ceiling windows.  The auditorium off the foyer is almost identical with Meeker's auditorium and has the same bluish-gray block walls.  Seating capacity is 320.

The combination gym and cafeteria adjacent to the auditorium has 12 tables that fold into the wall when the room is used as a gymnasium.  A modern kitchen adjoins the gym.  Administrative offices include a reception room, principal's office, and nurse's quarters.

The most impressive rooms at Edwards are the classrooms where color has been used to create a pleasant cozy atmosphere.  In each classroom two walls are painted one color, two another.  Color combinations used have been blue and yellow, light green and yellow, peach and chartreuse and others.  Colors for the walls were chosen to harmonize with the colors of the asphalt tile floors in each room.  All rooms have green chalkboards, movable chairs, a corner seat, plenty of bulletin boards and storage space, portable book racks and a large shop area.

All furniture used by the children including the built-in furniture in the shop area is of varying size and height from kindergarten to the sixth grade.  All of the classrooms have doors to the outside.  The kindergarten room, also done in bright colors, has a special window seat and a door leading to a roofed terrace and a fenced-off play area.  A cloak room with individual stalls and a toilet area are adjacent to the kindergarten room. 

A special and modern feature of the building are the glass blocks in the top half of classroom windows.  Purpose of this arrangement is to allow light to pass through but reduce glare.

Although 200 children are attending at present, the school's capacity is 250.  Dedication of the new school is being planned for sometime in October.  When the building is completely finished organized groups in the city will be allowed to hold one meeting there without charge during this first school year.  This policy set up by the Ames school board is the same as that used last year at Meeker and is aimed at allowing Ames residents to become acquainted with the building.