Niagara Gazette

Opinion

September 23, 2013

HIGGS: School bell rings for LaSalle High School

Niagara Gazette — On April 6, 1954, the Niagara Gazette wrote that planning had begun on the most modern secondary school in this part of the country. LaSalle’s Junior High School had a population increase of 700 students between 1931 and 1955 making the completion of the new high school a priority. That school had room for one-half days only and housed all students from grades seven through 12.

A special election to approve the bond issue was to be held on May 4, 1954, to allow for construction of a campus-type high school on Military Road where the former Plantation Restaurant and Club was located for many years. Stanley Baran was the owner and it was a popular spot for weddings and live entertainment.

The school was planned for 1,500 to 1,800 pupils to reduce the classroom sizes at Niagara Falls High School and also reduce the transportation costs of busing students from LaSalle to downtown for their senior years. It was finally opened on March 25, 1957, after three years of planning, construction and worry of everyone concerned.

The three-story brick building held 72 classrooms, a 1,300-seat auditorium, gymnasium and pool. Land cost was $13,656 and the building cost was $3,340,358 (just a bit short of the estimate and bonded issue amount - $3.5 million). Equipment costs were $300,000. In 1961, a field house was erected at a cost of $74,265 with equipment at $2,596. More additions were added in 1970: a library, guidance offices, clinic and 11 classrooms, along with a shop area. This came in at $530,827. We learned earlier that Trott Vocational High School closed in 1988, and additions were made to the shop area of the LaSalle High School to accommodate state-of-the-art shop classes including the appropriate equipment. Automotive, carpentry, electronics, machinery and welding classes along with practical nursing, cosmetology and drafting programs were moved to the renovated space at the new school. Total costs for these additions amounted to $8 million.

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