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Prairie College Elementary School

Last Updated: 1/22/2021 3:11 PM

Prairie College Elementary School 

1935-2013

Prairie College Elementary School originated from the first school building plans that began in 1824 as Franklin School built on a square acre purchased from John Niesz on old Richville Road that is now Faircrest  Street. The school site was moved in 1835 to Prairie College due to a need of a more central location. This log building was believed to have burned,  thus, a second log building with a rail fence was erected on the site in  1856. It was at that time the name of the school was changed. The land to the south and west resembled a prairie so the name was then changed to Prairie College School. Schools at that time were often referred to as colleges. In 1870, a one-room brick building was erected about 200 feet east of the present building. Again, this little school was destroyed by fire in 1910, but a new brick one-room school with a basement and coal furnace was built later that year. During the construction of the building, Godfrey  Muler owned a small cottage on Prairie College Road which he offered as a  school until the new building was completed. 

Originally the main entrance to the school was along Prairie College  Road. If you were to enter the building through that entrance, you could see the cornerstone beside the door, it read: Prairie College, District No.  6, Canton Township, 1910.  

The first teacher was Charles Whitmire. He taught from 1911 to 1914.  There were 45 pupils in his class. By 1929, the enrollment had increased to 70 pupils with Herbert Engle as the teacher. After a meeting of the teacher and patrons, the School Board agreed to add two more rooms and hire another teacher. 

In 1935, $14,000 was spent to remodel and add to the building. The original one-room was torn down and two rooms were added. A basement was put under the entire building. This made a four-classroom school with a basement auditorium, which was also used as a lunchroom. 

In 1951, an annex was added to Prairie College School for the cost of  $225.000. This included an auditorium/gymnasium with lockers and showers, a stage, and a cafeteria with an all-electric kitchen. A secretary was added to the staff and, for the first time, the principal was not expected to teach a class. 

During the time Mr. Mohr was at Prairie College, the enrollment continued to increase. The basement was divided into classrooms and later a wooden portable building was erected to the west of the school. 

The community continued to grow and once again all rooms were overcrowded. In 1951, an annex was added to Prairie College. This new addition contained four classrooms, an auditorium with locker rooms, a cafeteria, a teacher’s lounge, and two private offices for the principal and secretary. 

In 1953, a library, four classrooms, and some kitchen storage space were added. Another addition was erected in 1956 which included five classrooms, a boiler room, and two lavatories, which were connected with the rest of the building, and Prairie College became a u-shaped structure with a playground in the center. In 1973, a modern large-sized room was added to house the kindergarten pupils.  

When you entered the school, the wooden figures Woody, Woodette,  and Splinter (the dog) greeted you and they would be dressed in different costumes for the activities and holidays during the year. These wooden figures were introduced by Mr. Willis in 1994.  

Prairie College had a very active PTA/PTO and was blessed with many wonderful parents that helped with fundraisers. At Christmas time, there was a tree that was placed in the hallway, and students decorated it by placing hats and mittens for students who needed them. The PTA/PTO  purchased and maintained the playground equipment. 

Due to district restructuring in 2006, Prairie College Elementary became a Kindergarten and Preschool building, and in 2008, became a Preschool building. The building closed in 2010. 

Our Board of Education had to make a very difficult decision when it was decided to abate/demolish Prairie College Elementary. On January  7, 2014, the property at Prairie College School was auctioned by Kiko  Auctioneers and sold to All Nations Tabernacle Church. This was a sad day for the Prairie College community that loved this building, and as the years have passed, those memories have become treasures. Prairie College had come a long way from a little log schoolhouse completed for $45.49 in cash and donated help.

 

Principals at Prairie College Elementary School:
1934-37 ..............................................................................................Mr. Herbert Engle
1937-39 ......................................................................................................Mr. Paul Wyle
1939-52 ................................................................................................Mr. Robert Mohr
1952-55 ...............................................................................................Mr. Ralph Regula
1955-70 ................................................................................................Mr. Robert Mohr
1970-87 ............................................................................................Mr. Ronald Molnar
1987-91 ...........................................................................................Mr. Robert Graham
1991-93 ............................................................................................Mr. Ronald Molnar
1993-96 .................................................................................................Mr. Patrick Willis
1996-06 .................................................................................. Mrs. Shelley Doerschuk
2006-08 ..............................................................................................Mrs. DaNita Berry
Seven secretaries served Prairie College Elementary School:
Donna Neisel, June McCarthy, Elaine Neighbor, Joanne Shondrick,
Mary Risaliti, Shirley Singer, and Kelly Walters.

Prairie College Photos

Prairie College Elementary School