Historic Structures

Building Description McKinley School - North Side School, Columbus Indiana

McKinley School is situated on the southern half of a city block, which is about half the width of adjacent blocks to the west and east. Houses to the east, west, north and south of the McKinley block all face the school. The houses immediately surrounding the school block appear to have been constructed about the same time as the school; most are modest frame houses. (The addition in which McKinley is located was platted the year before McKinley was built.) Two buildings which are not contemporary with the school are the former United Brethren Church (1922), at the northeast corner of 17th Street and Home Avenue, and a laundry at the southwest corner of 17th and Home.

McKinley is comprised of two sections: the original section constructed in 1892, which is approximately 73 feet wide by 38 feet deep; and the addition constructed in 1942, which is approximately 127 wide and 38 feet deep. The building is a 23 story red brick structure with a rough face limestone base, and a hipped roof.

The original section, Richardsonian Romanesque in style, has a five bay front (south) facade. The central bay of this facade has a low springing, round arch opening of rockfaced limestone which defines a recessed, ground level entry. The abutments of the arch contain the names of the township trustees (west side) and the architect and builder (east side). The doors of this entry are wood and multi-paned glass (still intact, but boarded over on the exterior). Above the arch, this central bay projects Slightly from the facade and has a front gable roof. Between the first and second levels is a tablet inscribed, “NORTH SIDE SCHOOL/ERECTED 1892." Above this, on the second level, are a group of three narrow windows. Directly above these are a group of three square blind attic openings filled with original metal panels, and above those, in the gabled section, are three round-arched vents. At the top of the gabled section is a square vent. Six stone stringcourses span the upper projecting section of the central bay: at its base, at the second story sills, at the base and impost levels of the round-arched vents, and below and above the rectangular vent.

There are two hipped roof dormers with vented openings on this front facade, one each centered above the two west bays and the two east bays. Each of the other bays of the facade has paired windows with a limestone sill and rockfaced limestone head on both the first and second levels. There is also a basement window for each bay.

The east and west facades of the original section are identical to each other. Originally, each had five windows on each level, with the three center windows of each level grouped. During the 1942 expansion of the building, all but the northernmost windows of the first and second level of each of these facades was bricked in so that lockers could be installed on the inside walls. The new brickwork was well integrated with the existing brickwork, though faint outlines of the closed openings are still visible. The remaining first and second level windows have stone sills and lintels. Centered above each of these end facades is a hipped roof dormer. Each of the first and second level windows of the original section was a double hung four over two window, except the windows on the second level of the central bay on the front of the building, which were double hung, one over one. Sometime after the 1942 addition, all the windows in the building were replaced with aluminum double hung windows with transoms. The window openings were unchanged.

The original building also included a 50 foot wide by 12 foot deep section on the north side of the building. This section, which was removed when the 1942 addition was built, housed the original staircases, as well as a rear entry.

The roof of the original section was initially slate, but was replaced sometime after the 1942 expansion with an asphalt shingle roof. The building has copper gutters and a wood fascia (both old and new sections).

The addition's exterior is very similar to the original section. The brick and limestone of both sections are nearly identical. Windows and doors of the 1942 section are similar to original windows and doors. Window openings on the north side of the addition are somewhat different, as they are larger than the other window openings, with each opening having a group of three windows, and have a brick soldier course in the place of a limestone head. Windows in the 1942 addition were originally wood double hung, four over one, like the original windows in the 1892 section.

Two designs for the roof of the 1942 section were submitted. One design was for a flat roof. The design which was selected was for a hipped roof, like the one in the old section of the building.

The basement is accessible from the north side of the addition from an exterior corridor which runs the length of the building.

The interior of the 1892 section originally had two classrooms on each floor, an entry hall on the first floor, an office on the second floor, and a stair tower. The basement also had two rooms. The floors were hardwood and the walls were plaster. At the time of the addition, the 1892 interior was remodeled. Classrooms were reduced in size so that restrooms could be added, and interior finishes were changed especially in the hallways. The front entry configuration is original, with double doors opening at ground level and a set of steps leading up to the first level. (The building has a raised basement.) The original hardwood floors (under later asphalt tile) and plaster walls are still in existence in the old classrooms, although windows, doors, and trim have been changed. Dropped plaster ceilings were also added in 1942.

The 1942 addition contains a cafeteria, industrial arts room, and boiler room in the basement, four classrooms each on the first and second levels, and an enclosed stairway at each end of the addition. Corridors and restrooms have terrazzo floors and glazed tile walls from floor to ceiling. Classrooms in the addition have asphalt tile floors, and glazed tile on about the bottom 33 feet of two of the walls. There were blackboards on two walls of every classroom, but these have been removed. There is a wall of lockers in every classroom. All classroom doors are wood with metal frames.