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1937 – Martin Hall / Lab School

Martin Hall 1937

The new Laboratory School in Martin Hall was a cutting-edge facility with the most modern equipment when it opened in 1937.

Map showing location of Martin Hall
Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

The number of students who were enrolled in the elementary grades at the college Training School had continued to grow. By 1930, the Board of Trustees was looking for funds to replace the old 1908 school. However, the Great Depression meant there was no money available from the state legislature. But in 1935, the federal Public Works Administration approved the Trustees’ proposal, and work began on a new school.

unpaved F street and trees in foreground of southeast view of building
F Street view of the new Martin Hall

Martin Hall was dedicated to Cheney native, Governor Clarence D. Martin on 6 April 1937 during a two-day education conference held in the building. The hall contained the new Laboratory School for teacher training.

Portrait of Clarence D. Martin
Gov. Clarence D. Martin

Each of the six grades of the new Laboratory school was housed in a suite of four rooms, a main room, workroom, supply closet, and office. The first three grades and the kindergarten were on the ground floor, the upper grades and the library, on the second floor. The large main room had a slate blackboard, bulletin boards, desks, and bookshelves.

The workroom contained materials for projects, and toys for the lower grade students. The supply closet had a porcelain sink, stainless steel worktables, plus shelves and drawers for supplies. Along with a desk, the office had filing cabinets and bookshelves. This was the most modern of equipment and classroom design for its time.

In 1938, a gymnasium was added to the building.

Floor plan of Martin Hall Laboratory School
1938 floor plan of building

The modern design of the kindergarten included a large room with a fireplace, as well as small chairs and rockers for the students. The playroom had a large truck, playhouse, rocking pony, and sand table that offered the youngsters a variety of creative opportunities. Small folding cots were provided for the children to rest during the afternoon.

class photo of 1939 6th grade students and teachers
1938-39 6th grade class

On the second floor above the kindergarten, there was the spacious library. It also had a fireplace. Also on the second floor, was the cafeteria which could be converted into a banquet hall for community use. In the 1940s, the cafeteria was used to hold the teachers’ reception each fall as the new year began. Over 160 teachers and community members filled the room, clubwomen providing the entertainment and refreshments.

Next to the cafeteria were the domestic science rooms with electric ranges, a refrigerator, and hotplates among the new modern equipment. The sewing room had electric machines and fitting rooms. The entire department was lit by large windows offering plenty of natural light and ventilation.

I have fond memories of that building. Many of us went all the way through 12th grade and graduation together.

Part of Sutton Hall, trees and cars in front of Martin Hall

After the Campus School (Reid Elementary) was completed in 1959 to the west of Martin Hall, the hall was converted to classrooms, lab space, and offices. Williamson Hall was added to the north side of Martin Hall, dedicated in 1979. The building now serves the departments of Psychology and Applied Psychology.

east side entrance to building
Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

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