Capital Region Scrapbook: Year of the scholar

The late 1950s was a boom time for new schools as Scotia-Glenville, Linton, Schalmont and Niskayuna

Young people explored science, geography, algebra and history in September 1958.

In Scotia and Schenectady, they also were exploring new schools: Scotia-Glenville High School and St. Anthony’s School opened for the first time.

The late 1950s was a boom time for new schools. Linton High School opened earlier in 1958; Schalmont and Niskayuna High Schools opened in 1957.

The Scotia kids began spending their days in 19 all-purpose classrooms, three shops, three rooms for “homemaking” courses, music and art rooms, library, study hall, gymnasium and auditorium. Students also killed time in the cafeteria, and perhaps cooled their heels in new administrative offices.

Schenectady Gazette reporter Peg Churchill toured the place on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 1958, as young people registered for classes.

“Corridor walls are of oak paneling and plaster, brightened by varied-colored glass mosaic at drinking fountains and in both main entrance lobbies,” she observed.

Rose-colored window

“Exemplifying the well-planned use of materials is a two-story window of rose-colored glass on the south side of the building. This colorful window is both decorative and useful — since the glass is set in honeycomb tiles which break the direct rays of southern sunlight.”

There were some modern innovations, like smaller windows. By the late 1950s, educators had learned that natural light beamed into rooms could not be efficiently controlled. That meant classrooms that were often too bright and too hot.

Another new wrinkle was versatile spaces. The double cafeteria also could be used as study hall space.

Younger scholars were on Van Vranken Avenue in Schenectady. St. Anthony’s School opened for its first year as an elementary school.

The school informed and entertained elementary school children for more than 40 years before closing several years ago. Some parts of the school are now used as a Montessori school; other sections house a day care center.

Categories: Life and Arts

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