Niagara Gazette

Columns

August 19, 2013

HIGGS: Number of schools in LaSalle grows

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — During the 1950s the board of education purchased property from Hooker Chemical Company (now Occidental) to provide facilities in this fast growing area of LaSalle. It was stated the purchase was necessary as there was a lack of available land within the city limits in this area. Ninety-Third Street School was built in the northwest corner first and 99th Street School was opened on Feb. 14, 1955. Ninety-Ninth Street School was also a two-story brick building with 22 classrooms, an auditorium and gymnasium and cost $916,248 which included the land, building and equipment. In 1980, both schools were closed and later demolished due to public health concerns regarding the presences of potentially contaminated fill material in the northwest corner of the Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area of the city.

Sixty-Sixth Street School was constructed at 630 66th St. at the same time and at the same cost as the 99th Street School. Opened on the same day, Feb. 14, 1955, Miss Isabel Lefort was the first principal. A birthday party was held each year on that day and celebrated with a breakfast in the school cafeteria. More celebrations continued in 1965 at the Red Coach Inn at the 10th anniversary of the school and a brunch was held at the former Ramada Inn in 1980 at its 25th anniversary. The school closed in 2008 during a consolidation measure and is currently used as the administration building for the board of education. The students were moved to a newer building on Girard Avenue.

LaSalle continued to grow at a rapid pace and the population included younger families with elementary age children. Another two-story brick building with 22 class rooms was built at 1330 95th St. at a cost of $1,229,964.43 which included the cost of land, building and equipment and was opened in 1958. Dr. Rita N. Moretti was the first principal at 95th Street School which was renamed in 1981 the Geraldine J. Mann School in honor of the late assistant superintendant for elementary education. Miss Mann retired in 1977 and ceremonies were held to honor her 28 years of service and dedication to education.

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