Understanding my appreciation for documenting historic and cultural sites, I was invited to explore and photograph Riverside School as it looked in its final few months of operation. Similar to the former Earl Kitchener School, which was also built in 1916, the cost to modernize and maintain the building are cited as the main reasons for closure. While the future of the building remains unknown at this time, it will cease to be a public school come June.
Riverside School is an interesting mish-mash of history rolled into a modern school. Smart boards cover blackboards, computer stations are fitted where the original architects never would have considered them, and simple things like wood stain separate the original part of the school with the expansion that was added to the back in the 1950s. In many ways the classrooms aren't dramatically different from other elementary schools, and yet, for any of the thousands of kids who went here over the decades I can imagine that nostalgia clearly sets them apart.
Much like when I photographed Medicine Hat High School prior to its massive renovation last year, there's always a bit of sadness in seeing a chapter come to a close. However, it is the change that keeps things interesting and progressing. No doubt, Riverside School will be missed, especially as things start getting packed up in the months ahead.
Enjoy this visual exploration of the school as it was, and stay tuned for the second half of my images from Riverside School when they go live here. Also, explore even more Medicine Hat history and original photo essays by checking out my Around the Hat photo series.
|Boys entrance and the back expansion added in the 1950s.|
|New school bell and old school bell.|
|Kids heights marked on the wall in the gym.|
|Brick mural by James Marshall.|
|Riverside School cornerstone laid on December 11, 1916.|