League of Women Voters want MD. Ave School
LEAGUE WOMEN VOTERS SEEK MD. AVE. SCHOOL
Declare Present Building is Thirty-Eight Years Behind Time—
Unsanitary and Inadequate.
At the meeting of the League of Women Voters, which was held in the City Hall Auditorium at 8 o'clock last evening, the members of the board presented an appeal for the indorsement and support for the development of a new school to substitute the present one on Maryland avenue. Mrs. W. Ralph Bretz presided over the meeting, and called upon the different members to present their grievences in connection with the faults of the present school, and its location. Ten points of interest were brought up pointing to the unsanitary and condemnable condition which this building was in, and by speakers it was proven that a new building would be the only possible manner by which these conditions might be eradicated. Mrs. W. W. Hanly, who is acting secretary for the committee, declared that if the motion was to be seconded, that a presentable declaration should be framed and properly placed in the hands of the authority on the passing of such a bill.
The meeting was brief and was attended by approximately thirty people, the appeal for prompt motion in the construction of a sanitary, modern school being unanimous.
The Maryland Avenue School is said to be over fifty years old, and was declared thirty eight years out of date, compared to buildings of the surrounding territory. Mrs. Bretz, following a declaration in behalf of the League and herself, that this petition would be urged and upheld, called for adjournment at 8:45 o'clock.
Following are the reasons given for a new school on Maryland avenue:
There are 30 windows in class rooms, 100 of which have shades. Two of these are broken and nailed up. Others are ragged and of little value. In one room the children work under electric light because the shades cannot be operated. On the south side the sunlight streams in directly on the desks of the children, and owing to the fact that there is lack of shades cannot be regulated. This causes a glare from the polished desks and white paper. Because of the lack of shades it is impossible to adjust light and shadow on the boards, hense a glare rests on boards in all rooms, making it very difficult and in many cases impossible to see the writing on the boards. All of which conditions are extremely injurious to the eyes of pupils and teachers.
The heating system is entirely unsatisfactory. Owing to the crowded condition of the rooms, the seats in the rear of several rooms are almost against the steam pipes which are exposed and set out into the rooms. Thus, children on the back seats must be overheated in order to have the children in front even comfortable. The children in the first grade are seated in a room adjoining the furnace room and directly on the ground floor and partly below the surface. The heaters in this room are placed two-thirds up the walls on shelves. Thus the top of the room is hot while the feet of the children freeze. Further, the room never becomes even warm until noon and when it becomes warm the heat on the head instead of the feet causes a headache. One room in the N. E. corner of the building cannot be heated and the children suffer from the cold. The only way this could be remedied is by going under the building and raising the heating system. All of which conditions are injurious to the health of the children.
The ventilation of the building is very poor. The only intake of fresh air is from raised windows and there is no escape for foul air. When the windows are opened the cold air is directly on the children owing to the nearness of the seats to the windows. A. few windows had window boards. All of which conditions are detrimental to the health and growth of the question. All of which conditions are detrimental to the physical development and interest of the children.
The corridors of the building are very narrow, which prevents the management of the children in any massed drills or other exercises which are recognized as educational factors and important factors in promoting discipline and caring for the safety of the children. The corridors are dark, being lighted by a transom in the rear door. There is no ventilation except by open door which in cold weather would unduly cool the building.
Owing to the location of the building on the edge of the plot and owing to the construction, the children are precipated directly from a narrow hall directly in front of the furnace room on to a flight of steps and directly on to the street. This street is a thoroughfare for street cars and traffic of all kinds to and from South Cumberland, and is one of the busiest and most dangerous streets in the city. The door of building is about 18 feet from the street car tracks. Further, the school is within a few hundred feet of Williams street which is used by motorists as a speedway. All of which conditions are dangerous to the safely of the children.
The building has no playground. A tiny recess yard, ten feet wide and 66 feet long, over all, with a narrow walk entirely around the building, comprise the entire grounds. Here, at recess time, 100 or more children are huddled like sheep in a pen. The only exercise in which they can indulge is to push and pull each other and jump up and down. The school has no gymnasium or any facility of any kind whatsoever for the proper exercise of the children. The rooms are so crowded and the desks are so close together that only one child can stand in the aisle between the desks (it is close as that) so that games or other exercises other than breathing exercises are out of the question.
The school has no assembly hall or other arrangement where all the pupils can be gathered at one time for massed instruction or recreative exercises of any kind.
The school is over-crowded, there being more pupils than seats, even with the seats crowded to the limit.
The inside of the building is run-down and unkempt. The walls are dirty and unsightly. The teachers do not have proper recepticals for books, supplies and papers, hence they cannot maintain a tidy, orderly appearance with any amount of effort.
The building does not conform with the building laws of the city in at least two instances. An exit from the primary room opens inward and, owing to its location, cannot be used. In case of fire in the hall in front of the furnace room, the windows would be the only exits from this room. Also the room is partly under the surface. In no respects does the building conform to the requirements that have been recognized for at least 25 years as necessary to the proper educational care of children.
Further, the patrons of this school and their fathers have been taxpayers for nearly a century in many cases, in the same district, but they have had to see the districts all around them enjoy modern buildings, while their children have had to endure such conditions as are here enumerated, in a building over 60 years old, amid the noise and confusion of one of the busiest streets in town.
As long as the Compulsory Education Law provides that children must attend school, the county authorities should take the responsibility of providing conditions that are not a menace to the safety, health, eyesight, physical development and mental welfare.
Allegany College of Maryland
Cumberland (Md.) press coverage; Cumberland (Md.) Chamber of Commerce
Cumberland (Md.), 1920-1930