Historic Structures

Building Description Wiley Bates High School, Annapolis Maryland

The Wiley H. Bates High School Complex, on Smithville Street in Annapolis, was begun in the early 1930s. The first portion was completed in 1932, and replaced the original Annapolis Colored High School which had been located in the Stanton School on West Washington Street in Annapolis. The original portion of the building is a flat roofed, two story building of brick and masonry bearing walls and wood frame floor and roof structure. A center, double loaded corridor runs north/south the length of the building with classrooms, lavatories, and stairs on the western side, and classrooms, library, offices and a two story auditorium on the eastern side of the corridor. The second floor corridor opened to the two story auditorium space as a gallery. First floor classrooms were added to both the north and south in 1937, and second floor classrooms were added in 1945. The major architectural treatment is reserved for the auditorium section which is embellished with three segmentally arched windows, a low cast stone belt course, and a pattern of pilasters and panels; the remainder of the building facade is relieved with cast stone belt courses and ganged double hung windows. The resource achieved its current configuration in 1950, when additional teaching facilities were added. The most recent portion of the building is also of masonry construction, and is completed in a simplified International or Modern style. The entire building complex continued in use until 1981.

The original portion of Bates High School is a two story (with partial basement), flat roofed, brick masonry building. The original building, completed in 1932 at a cost of $58,596.00, forms part of a large complex, the result of a series of additions and expansions over the period 1937-1950. Minor additions completed in 1937 and 1945 were followed in 1950 by a major addition and expansion which more than tripled the size of the 1932 building. The complex, including the original building, continued in use until 1981.

The principal (east) facade of the original portion of the building (facing the entry court of the complex as it now stands) has two entry doors and three segmentally arched window openings (opening to the large space of the auditorium) in a large scaled, simply detailed elevation broken by a cast stone belt course at the mid-door level and a repeating pattern of pilasters and panels. This center section is flanked on both the north and south with two story additions having a similar facade treatment of brick with two contrasting cast stone belt courses at the line of the window heads. The 1937 and 1945 additions continue this treatment. The original fixed sash in the large auditorium windows has been removed and replaced by aluminum replacement windows; the double hung sash in the flanking windows remains in place, but boarded over with plywood panels.

The plan of the original (1932) block consists of a double loaded corridor on the first floor with classrooms, lavatories (on the first floor only), and stair towers on the western side, and a large auditorium space, classrooms and offices on the east side. The second floor repeats this plan, with a gallery (now closed in with glass block units) opening into the auditorium, and a library. Interior modifications (dropped lay-in ceilings, partitions, etc.) have been minor and are reversible. The 1937 and 1945 additions consist of additional classrooms, lavatories and locker space. Minor renovations to the original building carried out in these campaigns, included the installation of a terrazzo floor in the first floor corridor, the renovation of existing locker space as a lavatory, and the creation of shop classrooms in the basement at the southern end of the building.

Sometime in 1937-1938, the wooden frame Germantown Elementary School, previously located a block away on West Street, was moved to the grounds. This building was used as an annex for classrooms and also contained a home economics room from which meals were served. This annex was incorporated into a subsequent addition, but traces of its location are still visible. The annex no longer stands.

The building complex was enlarged to its present size in 1950, more than tripling the original building area. This addition was completed as a series of wings, two of which embrace the entry court on Smithfield Street, with a new entry and lobby replacing the former entry through the 1932 building. The plan of this addition consists of a series of wings with double loaded corridors, and the program included classrooms, laboratories, offices, a gymnasium-auditorium, a cafeteria, shop classrooms, and a 399-seat theater (at the time the only such facility in an Anne Arundel County school building). This addition is of masonry and concrete construction and was designed in a simplified modern style with brick and stone trim.