University High School

University High School

The University High School, on East University Avenue between South University Avenue and Monroe Street, was scheduled for completion in November, 1923. During that school year some University classes were housed in the building as an emergency measure, but it was not ready for occupancy until the fall of 1924. The site, part of which was later occupied by the University Elementary School, was purchased from the Presbyterian Church for $71,000. The cost of the entire area, given as $148,092.73, was somewhat reduced, however, through the salvage of materials and houses which stood upon the site (Regent's Proceedings, 1921-22, p. 13).

The floor plans for the University High School Building submitted by the architects, Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton, of Chicago, were approved at the January meeting of the Regents in 1922, and the architects were instructed to proceed with the working plans. The first design submitted was revised to bring the cost within the funds available. The contract was awarded to the H. G. Christman Company, of South Bend, Indiana, on April 28, 1922, for $338,000. Subsequent alterations in the construction became necessary in order to meet mounting building costs, and certain delays required the postponement of the formal opening of the School until September, 1924.

The new building was to be the first unit of a group of three, including the proposed Elementary School and a building for the School of Education, which together were to constitute one continuous structure. The subsequent erection of the Elementary School Building was the second step in the plan. The High School Building was 246 by 172 feet and comprised four floors which covered an area of 96,400 square feet. A parkway, formed by the closing of one block of Haven Avenue, separated it from the Architecture Building and the grounds of the Martha Cook Building. A certain degree of harmony among the three adjacent structures was achieved by the use of red brick with stone trim.

University High School on East University

The main entrance to University High was on East University Avenue. The offices of the School were on the right. On the left, off the main corridor, were three small rooms for offices and service rooms for student activities, and the Marshall Byrn Memorial Library, which housed books, teaching materials, and high-school text books in the field of vocational education. The library adjoined the industrial arts unit, which was entered from the main corridor and which included a large room equipped as a general shop, a storage room for materials, and a classroom.

Off the main corridor were the generous quarters of the science unit, including separate laboratories for physics, chemistry, and biology. Biology had a well-equipped greenhouse attached. The science unit also included a general purpose classroom, a lecture room with terraced seating, an equipment storage room, and a departmental office.

Between the industrial arts and the science units a passageway led to the boys' lockers and dressing room, which were connected by a stairway with the gymnasium on the third floor.

At the end of the main corridor was the Schorling Auditorium, seating 350 and named in honor of Raleigh Schorling, the first principal of the School. It was equipped with a stage, lighting, and scenery facilities. In the corridor just outside the entrance to the auditorium, were display cases for exhibiting the work of the students.

Floorplan for University High School

Industrial Arts Class

On the second floor, immediately above the auditorium, at the end of the central corridor was the school library, a beautiful room 38 by 78 feet, which occuped two stories. On this floor over the industrial arts room was an exercise room used as a recreation room, and a small gymnasium, 35 by 90 feet. A unit for the girls' physical education department provided an office, dressing and locker rooms, and a health unit which included an office for the school nurse and a room in which students could rest.

University High School Library

The second floor also included eight classrooms, a room for women teachers, and, above the main entrance to the building, the office of the Assistant Principal.

On the third floor the gymnasium, measuring 60 by 90 feet, opened off the main corridor to the south. Also on the third floor were the offices of the head of the Department of Physical Education and Health, with adjacent storage space for gymnasium equipment and supplies. In addition, the third floor provided office space for the Department of Modern Languages, the Mathematics Department, and the co-ordinator of student teaching, as well as nine classrooms and a men's staff room.

Adjacent to the University High School, on the first floor of the Elementary School Building (completed in 1929-30) was a well-equipped cafeteria for the use of teachers and students. The Elementary School also provided space (on the second floor) for the fine arts classes of the High School.

The fourth floor was not used by the High School but was the center of much of the work of the School of Education. Offices were provided on this floor for members of the School of Education staff, and there were also two classrooms used by classes in education. At the end of the corridor was the School of Education library. In addition, the fourth floor housed the Laboratory for Educational Psychology and a laboratory for instructional materials in the fields of vocational education.

The four floors of the building were connected by stair wells near the east and the west entrances to the building, and also by an elevator near the front entrance.

At the north side of the building, bounded on one side by East University Avenue and on the other by the parkway, was an outdoor playground measuring approximately 500 by 700 feet, which provided facilities for physical education classes and for intramural sports. On the northeast corner of the playground (1020 South University) was a house at one time used by the University as a dwelling for women students. It was assigned to the School of Education in 1949 to house such personnel and activities of the School of Education as it might serve advantageously. The basement and the first floor of the house were allocated to the University High School as a laboratory for homemaking classes. The basement was converted by the students of the High School into a recreation room.

Playground and University House

John M. Trytten (The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, p. 1734)