Most Sarnians are familiar with the Lochiel Kiwanis Centre located at the end of Lochiel Street between College Avenue and Forsyth Street, and many will remember it as the Lochiel Street School, but few will remember when, from 1916 – 1924, three schools occupied the site.
In 1872 the four-room Lochiel School was completed in October at a total cost of $7,000. It later became a primary school but fell into disrepair and was officially closed in 1917. It was sold for $250 in 1924 and was torn down.
In 1878 a six-room Model school (used for the training of new teachers) was erected facing George Street for a total cost, including furnishings, of $9,900.
In 1917 the name was changed to the George Street School. Although updated in 1905 and 1919, the high cost of renovations forced its closure in 1937 and it was torn down in the summer of 1938.
Bricks from the school were used to build two homes, one at 226 Wellington St. and one at 152 Norman St. A cairn was erected in the fall of 1938. Damaged in the tornado of 1953, it wasn’t re-erected until 1962.
Lochiel Street School opened in August 1917. It was a 10-room school with provision for industrial arts and home economics, built at a cost of $63,000. The first Principal, Mr. P.R. Gilbert, would serve from 1917 – 1946.
In 1952 the shop and home economics classes were moved to Hanna Memorial school.
In 1971 the new gymnasium was added to the front of the school but enrolment numbers began to drop and the school closed in 1981.
John Rochon is a Sarnian with a lifelong passion for local history