The New Centre Street School – 1923

By the year 1921, Centre Street School was found to be totally inadequate for the growing population of the town. The building was out of date and it was hopeless to try to repair or remodel it. The old school had served its day. The Board of Education decided that a new one would have to be erected.

The school trustees and the citizens of Oshawa had “always been conscious of the schools that other towns had and they had no desire to be inferior. Much research and not a few disagreements went into the planning of that building.

Finally all was settled and the old school house and the small white one on the grounds were demolished to make way for the present E.A. Lovell School. When first completed it was considered to be one of the finest on the continent. It covers twice the area of the old one and has twenty classrooms, an assembly hall capable of seating 300 and executive offices. One of the rooms was fitted up for a kindergarten, which was a new idea in the Oshawa schools at least. It was emphatically pronounced by some as “nonsense”! The total cost of the building was just over $220 000 and it could accommodate 700 pupils.

What would the trustees, citizens (John Cowan included) have thought in 1877 of that figure? The paltry $13 000 that had caused such an uproar in the village was mere “pin money” in erected also in that short interval.

The new school was declared to be fire proof when it was first built. However, a report from the Board of Education, dated May 3rd, 1967 states as follows “the building is of the type that was called fire proof construction at that time, but due to the amount of wood use in trim cupboards, doors, etc this would be no longer considered fireproof by today’s standard. The building does have, however, “first aid and firefighting equipment” and I would say it is reasonably safe.”

The school is constructed of re-enforced concrete with solid brick exterior walls and partition walls of terra cotta tile and lath and plaster. The heating system consists of a stoker fed coal burning steam boiler with regular steam radiation. Each classroom has a cloakroom and all the floors in the building are re-enforced concrete covered with mastic floorings. The desks are all of modern design and are not fastened to the floor, as they were in the early years.

In the past four years all of the classrooms and the main corridor have been equipped with new fluorescent fixtures, with the remainder of the building using incandescent lighting. Some years after construction, rooms have been taken over and equipped for Home Economics and Industrial Arts.E.A. Lovell Public School


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