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Norman High School
Class of 1969

/Adams Elementary School

817 Denison Drive
Norman, OK 73069

In September, 1952, the city of Norman received a federal allocation of almost $315,000.00 for constructing two new elementary schools.

On October 23, 1952, the Norman Board of Education voted that the new north school be named John Adams Elementary.

The original south boundaries were Kansas and Iowa streets; the east boundary was the railroad tracks; the north and west boundaries were the north and west boundaries of the city. These were the limits of the school district.

John Adams was developed as part of the Woods Lawn addition. The school adjoined a city park site which is still used as the soccer field. Cecil Woods and Robert Barbour were the developers of the neighborhood. They received $3,423.75 for the land. The construction company was Builders Construction Company of Oklahoma City. Work began on Monday, January 12, 1953. On January 18, 1953, Builders Construction completed staking of the site and excavation was set for the following week.

On July 14, 1953, a request from the Builders Construction Company for an extension of time from July 25th to August 28th, due to loss of time on brick delivery and was approved by the board.

On August 28, 1953, furniture was piled along the outdoor corridors, pending approval of the Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency. Because the school was constructed using Federal funds, the inspection by federal authorities was necessary. On September 1, 1953, formal approval from the FHA was given and the furniture was moved in just in time for enrollment on Friday, September 4th.

The original school consisted of two buildings that ran parallel and both opened to the south with a breezeway that ran between them. The principal's office was where the counselor's office is today and the secretary sat right outside the entry way. The current principal's office and secretary's office was where P. E. classes were held. This area was enclosed with glass. The music room has been in the same location since the beginning.

The total cost of the building was $156,600.00.

On Tuesday, September 8, 1953, Adams opened with 261 children. The district attendance on that day of 3,554 spread among eight schools.

The school staff for that first year was:

Principal - Mr. Robert Bailey
Teachers - Mrs. Lona Doss - 1st grade
Mrs. Nadine Vincent - 1st grade
Mrs. Jeannie Rainbolt - 2nd grade
Mrs. Irene Huey - 2nd grade
Mrs. Jimmie Payne - 3rd grade
Mrs. Addie Ward - 4th grade
Mrs. Mary Ann Stone - 6th grade
Mr. Wayne Renau - art

The first PTA officers were:

President: Roland Kruis
First Vice President: Mrs. J. D. Ward
Second Vice President: Principal Robert Bailey
Secretary: Mrs. Rex Miller
Treasurer: Mrs. June Amacher

In the September 1953 Back to School special edition of the Norman Transcript, the school was described in detail.

"Designed to "bridge the gap between home and school" the new elementary school does just that. A bright homey atmosphere prevails throughout the building, yet the maximum in function and efficiency has been accomplished.

A combination of pink brick and glass, the low flat-roofed buildings provide ample lighting and ventilation. Architects designed the school with flexibility in mind. One-storied rectangular wings are separated by open patio play areas. New wings and patios may be added to fir future enrollment gains.

John Adams, the Woodslane Addition School, located east of Berry Road and south of Robinson Street, centers on five acres of land. Adams has eight rooms.

Inside hallways are noticeable absent in the new building, but entrance to each classroom is from the outside corridors extending to the length of each wind. Brightly painted doors - blue, aqua, bonfire red - mark each room's entranceway.

Wife overhangs cover the corridors, serving as protection from the sun and rain. The overhangs also prevent sunlight from shining directly through the glassed walls and windows, and eliminates the need for window shades.

Rainy days will not be dreaded by children attending the new school. Twenty=foot overhangs extend from each end of the rectangular wings, providing a covered play area, and making outdoor classrooms possible. The overhangs also provide sunny shade on hot days.

Classroom interiors are colorfully decorated with soft pastel-paints used in ceiling and wall spaces.

Sea-green chalkboards replace the less modern blackboards. Extending from floor to ceiling - with chalk rail along the bottom - the tiniest child may reach them, even without getting up from his chair. Chalkboards are flanked by soft grey "tackboards" replacing the old bulletin board and something entirely modern; "pegboards" have been installed in every room. Dotted with holes for dowel pins, they will be used to display artwork or other visual education objects.

Cabinets stacked vertically along one wall of each room provide storage space for teaching materials. The wooden cabinets may be pulled out and moved about the room and when not in use, pushed back sideways into the wall slots. Each room is equipped with five of these roll-away cabinets.

"Homiest" of the schools' innovations are the small, individual bathrooms adjoining each of the lower-grade classrooms. Children may "be excused" individually without fuss or bother, just like they are at home.

Each bathroom, finished with glazed yellow tile, is equipped with a small toilet stool. There are larger boys' and girls' restrooms for the older children, located in each wing. A combination sink and drinking fountain is also located in each classroom.

Furniture throughout the school is movable for reaching circles and recreational activities. In the primary grades, small chairs and individual tables are furnished for each child."

On September 7, 1953 the school received permission to build a walkway to the south entrance through property owned by Port G. Robertson, the University of Oklahoma's wrestling coach. Mr. Robertson's wife later became a second grade teacher at Adams. The walkway 660 feet by 8 feet, was to extend from Utah Street north to Denison Street through pasture land which was being used for grazing cattle. The strip of land was to be graveled and fenced to keep children from straying into the pasture, and alleviate the necessity for a longer, more round-about route.

In October, Adams was recognized for having 98.81 percent average daily attendance, the record in the Norman school system for the first six weeks.

In 1958, two additional lots were purchased which now serve as parking.

In the late 1960's or early 1970's, the west part of the building was enclosed and used as a cafeteria. This is the current media center. The current kindergarten classrooms were the kitchen.

In 1977-78, a mural around the media center was added. The children drew pictures and the teachers painted it during the summer. A portion of this mural can still be seen by the front bathrooms.

In 1983, the current cafeteria and classrooms between the media center and cafeteria were added. Originally, these were just two classrooms and one was used for P. E. Today, this area contains four classrooms.

The gym was completed in December 1987 and used for classes in January 1988.

Principals for the school:

1953-57 Robert Bailey
1957-63 Leon Reed
1963-72 Everett Bobbitt
1972-77 E. W. "Dub" James
1977-78 William C. Rigg
1978-84 William C. "Cal" Alexander
1984-90 Don Lynn
1990-present Sandra Drennan

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This page was updated: Monday, 10-Jun-2022 17:58:40 CDT

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