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That the School structures should be erected with a view to durability, and the avoidance as far as possible of repair.
That whenever the location permitted, the building should stand alone, for convenience, for light, and for ventilation.
That the best and most economical mode of heating and ventilation should be adopted.
That all buildings should have, when the size and location of lot admitted, light to each room from two exterior sides.
That staircases of easy ascent should be located in different parts of the building, and ample means of ingress and egress should be afforded, so that in case of sudden alarm a whole School might be cleared instantly of its inmates without confusion or danger.
That each class-room should have accommodation for liats and cloaks conveniently located.
That each class-room should be able to dismiss directly into the hall or stairways.
That the hardware for School buildings should be suitable for constant and unusual use; and that in all other particulars, regard should be had to utility, economy, convenience, and appearances.
The mode of obtaining plans in Philadelphia for buildings was changed so as to permit those who are most familiar with the wants and requirements of the Schools, to obtain them without being obliged to advertise for competition, The practical result of the old system had proven most unfortunate, for, as a rule, the ablest and most experienced architects were averse to competition, and were unwilling to spend their talent, time, labor, and money upon plans, at the risk of rejection; the effect therefore of the advertising system was to deprive the city of the services of very many architects of acknowledged ability, and to narrow down the competition to a very limited number,
The various Boards of School Directors have been consulted by the Com. mittee on Property, in respect to the wants of their respective Schools, and, as a general rule, it is believed without exception, the plans adopted for net School-houses have met with the approbation of the Directors.
The Committee on Property gained many useful hints and suggestions with respect to School-houses, on their visits to Boston, Cambridge, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis and Columbus; and it is believed that our edifices, when finished, will equal any in the country in their adaptation to School purposes; that they will be a credit and ornament to our city; and that they will, by reason of the care taken in the matters of warming, light, and ventilation, preserve the health of our children, many of whom have in the past been stored in factories, churches, and dwellings rented for educational purposes.
It seems to be the opinion of teachers, as well as of all who have the care and supervision of Schools in cities, that no School edifice is complete unless it contains a large hall, capable of accommodating at one time all the pupils of the School; that every room should be well lighted, and that, when practicable, direct light should come into every room from two sides, and the room should have also whatever of " borrowed light", it can command; that each Schoolhouse should be so ordered that every room may have its separate means of ingress and egress; that stairway facilities should be numerous; that each division should have its clothes-room conveniently located; and above all that ventilation, in winter and summer, should be so ordered as to keep the atmos
phere constantly changing by the expulsion of the foul air, and the continuous introduction of pure air from without, avoiding perceptible currents.
With respect to the hall accommodations above referred to, it is scarcely necessary to say that when space is expressly devoted to that purpose, and to that alone, the cost of the building is correspondingly increased.
On the contrary, if a number of class-rooms can at any time be converted into a large hall or room, the desired end is better attained.
The plans which will be found in the Report explain how this may be accomplished by means of glass partitions hung on pulleys or wheels at the top, and which with a slight impulse may be almost poiselessly rolled into the casements on the sides; one advantage of this principle over a special assembling room, besides the matter of cost, is, that any number of class-rooms in which scholars are assembled may be suddenly converted into a large room, without the vacating of seats, and without the noise or the loss of time caused by moving; and that, instantly after any general exercise, in which a whole School may join, as in singing, or in the opening or closing exercises, the partitions may be closed, the classes all being seated. Each story may be thus arranged.
When public buildings are by law given to the lowest bidder upon advertisement, and to be erected on the contract system upon plans and specifications, the door is open wide to fraud upon the public; as a rule, the competition is with very few, and they frequently irresponsible and unreliable builders, who seek to make pecuniary amends for low bids by slighting their work, and furnishing unsuitable material, in the hope of bringing sympathy to their aid, under various pretexts and pleas, when discovery is made or complaint uttered ; and too often with success, to the public detriment. Security it is true may be demanded; this, though wise, is not enough, for the sympathy which relieves the contractor also relieves the security; nor is there any way to secure entire justice to the public on the general competitive advertising plan. In Philadelphia, the Committee upou Property of the Controllers of Public Schools have done much to guard the public interests by requiring large and reliable security, by holding the contractor fast by reservations of large, unusual, and ample powers-by requiring incessant watchfulness of the supervising architects-by the appointment of an Inspector of School buildings, whose duty it is to be on constant visitation, watching the progress of each building, and reporting weekly to the Committee. Besides these checks and guards, the Committee itself pay frequent visits.
While due regard seems to be paid to public interests, the Committee in like manner seems to look to fair dealing between the contractor and material man and his sub-contractors. By law, Public buildings are not the subjects of mechanics' lien, and ordinarily it would be possible for an irresponsible contractor to bid low, complete bis contract, pocket the price, and by leaving material and labor unpaid for, make large gains himself, and throw the poor laborer and mechanic upon the mercy of a merciless man. To remedy this evil as far as practicable, the Committee has provided for a release of claim by the material man and mechanic before final payment is made; and it has proven by actual experience of great advantage to public and private interests. The form of the building contract is liereto annexed, and is commended to those who have the responsibility of erecting public buildings cast upon them.
HOLLINGSWORTH SCHOOL.* Upon looking over the plans of the many new School buildings in Philadelphia, now in process of erection, one will be impressed at a glance with the Hollingsworth School, in the eighth ward. Having visited this School, the visitor will be struck at once with the completeness and adaptability of the edifice for its purposes, and upon close inspection, he will be satisfied that it is a model in all its detail, well worthy of imitation. This School should be visited in order that its simplicity, its economy and utility may be thoroughly comprehended. It seems to combine all the principles to which reference has been made. I now proceed to give a close description of all its parts, and to comment upon all points which strike us as specially worthy of note.
The Hollingsworth School is named after Thomas G. Hollingsworth, who was connected with the Public Schools of Philadelphia from their institution till his death in advanced years—a fitting tribute to one who was a faithful public servant, and who did his whole duty in his generation.
The cellars are well closed in, and the ceiling joists lathed and plastered. Frequently this important feature in public buildings and private dwellings is disregarded, and consequently the first story is cold in winter, unless heated at an unnecessary expense. A cold floor, though of boards, is not unlike one of stone in winter. Measured coal bins are built in the cellar, by which it can be fairly ascertained whether the coal is correct in quantity. A portion of the front pavement is excavated to enable the deposit of coal directly from the carts. In the cellars are located the steam furnaces, the ventilating stove for summer use, and the various radiating surfaces to generate warm air directly under the rooms designed to be heated.
Inside walls throughout the building are of brick; the face work of rubble, neatly jointed and pointed with Portland cement. It is common to use various coloring matters with the cement to mark the contrast between the stone and pointing more decidedly. Whatever effect this may produce to the eye, it is unwise, as all coloring material destroys the adhesiyness and cohesiveness, and in time falls out, crumbles, and opens the joints to absorption of moisture. The cement however, uncolored, becomes as hard as the rocks it binds together, and is an enduring protection. The stone used as facing is laid as it comes from the quarries, the flat side outward, and requires no dressing, except when used as quoins and corners. It is readily laid, and, when judgment is used, binds well; and in walls thus built, the spalls are serviceable to fill interstices, so that no portion of the stone is lost. Rubble work as used in this School has proven to be about twenty-five per cent. cheaper than a pressed brick front, and certainly is warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
The areas to cellar windows are paved with brick, and capped with heavy North River flagging, covered with heavy iron bars as gratings. This latter is essential to guard against accidents to small children, who seem to seek dangerous places.
The window and door sills are all of granite or brown stone, and windows
* This building is planned largely upon the points and suggestions of Edward Shippen, Esq., President of the Board, after much observation by him of School edifices, and much practical attention for many years to public School-houses, by John C. Sidney, Esq., of Philadelpbia, an architect who has given much study to the subject of School Architecture.
and door heads of Leiperville stone, affording a better protection to walls in case of fire than if made of wood.
The iron columns hereafter referred to rest on square stones twelve inches by twelve inches, and four thick, set upon eighteen inch walls.
Wells are emptied into sewer through twelve inch terra cotta pipes, into which all yard and roof water passes for purpose of cleansing.
The importance of height of ceiling can not be over-estimated. Fourteen feet in the clear is not too much, and though the number of steps to each story is increased as the height of ceiling is increased, yet by a judicious arrangement of two flights and platform to each story, that objection ceases to have weight. For children's use the risers should never be more than six and a-half inches, and tread twelve inches, one and one-fourth inches thick nosed.
To prevent the danger to small children from sliding on the stair-rail, a simple preventative is used in this building. A neatly devised screw with conical head projecting about half an inch above the rail, set in at distances of three feet apart, very soon admonish the sliding boys that the pastime is more comfortable in the omission than in the observance of the same.
This building is admirably arranged in the matter of stairways, all judiciously located and capable for any emergency, and most convenient for class-roomssix in number and all well lighted.
Each class-room is furnished with convenient clothes-rooms, fitted with double hooks. An observer will ordinarily find about one-half of the clothes-hooks broken from ill usage, and therefore it is most essential that they be constructed so as to bear the rough usage of children; so in fact should all the hardware in the School-house be. In this building, the hardware has been selected with special reference to utility and school-boy usage.
The closets are open at the top for drying and ventilating purposes, and the doors of the same for the same reason are kept three inches above the floor.
The casing of window jambs is an unnecessary expense, provided the same are rough floated as is hereafter specified. In fact, the less moulding and woodwork in a School-house, the better. The washboards and architraves should be as simple as possible; mouldings only give receptacles for dust, are of no practical use, and beadings are generally for the same reason unwise, and besides are difficult to keep clean. In doors, however, modest moulding is perhaps desirable for appearance sake. Architraves and washboards look well if simply planed and beveled on both edges; they are easily painted, dusted or scrubbed, and are by no means unseemly.
Wainscoting in class-rooms may well be avoided by the rough plastering referred to. With care on the part of the architect in preparing specifications, a very large amount of material in woodwork and labor may be avoided.
In preparing doors, it should be borne in mind that they are destined for hard usage; and that therefore they should be well made and thick; inside doors not less than two inches. A parlor door may be opened a dozen times a daya school-room door slammed by each of fifty children ten times a day. The hardware for doors should be well selected, especially where mortice locks are used. Porcelain knobs should never be used, but doors should latch with the old-fashioned substantial thumb latch. The lock need have no knob therefore. A well made fine tumbler dead-lock, with escutcheon, is all that is needed where a thumb latch is used. And we may observe that no School needs more