History of West Gresham Grade School
December 14, 1923, the Gresham Outlook claimed: "Gresham's new grade school is a model in plan and construction...One of the most attractive school buildings in the country, and is a credit to the district...The outward appearance is exceedingly pleasing and the interior arrangement is marked for beauty and convenience."
West Gresham Grade School was constructed in 1923 on property donated by Henry Metzger F. Manson White of Portland was the architect and C.E. Stockton of Gresham was the contractor. Mr. Stockton's bid was $47,000. Plumbing and heating were an additional $12,360.
The building is of hollow tile construction and is finished on the outside with stucco. The portion of the roof facing Powell Street was of Spanish metal tile; now it is composition. At completion the school boasted 10 classrooms, 26 by 30 feet, including wardrobes, a "splendid" auditorium, principals office and reception room, teacher's rest room, lunch room and furnace room. Six classrooms face the street. In the center is the main entrance with graceful supporting pillars. Fire safety was a major concern as well as heating, ventilating and sanitary conditions.
Total enrollment for the school was 318 students in 8 grades. There were 26 students in the eighth grade.
Two basement classrooms were added before 1926. In 1928, four additional rooms were built costing $14,000. At that time the two basement rooms were converted to a cafeteria. Enrollment was 458.
The main part of the basement was excavated in 1930 as a Work Progress Administration project for a playroom and skating rink. An outside skating rink was also built. In 1932, a library took over one of the classrooms.
In 1942, the cafeteria space was needed for classrooms and the children ate "sack" lunches in the supply room until a new lunch room was built. Enrollment slipped as 41 students were moved by the Japanese evacuation. Sandbags were placed in the basement and rooms as a precautionary measure. In 1943, the local population increased with shipyard industry workers. By 1948, four more classrooms were added, including a music room, for a total of 22 classrooms.
West Gresham maintained its title as the only Gresham grade school until 1950 when East Gresham Grade was opened. Now West is one of eleven Gresham Barlow elementary schools.
Principals of West Gresham:
Lori Walter 2017 - current
Carlynn Capps 2013 - 2017
Todd Graves 2011 - 2013
Karina Bruzzese 2010 - 2011
Anita Harris 2009 - 2010
Tracy Klinger 2008 - 2009
Debra James 2003 - 2008
Carlynn Capps 1997 - 2003
Dan Wood 1989 -1997
John Stanley 1984-1989
Teresa Cantlon 1982 - 1984
Ron Clawson 1978 - 1982
Claude Buckley 1968 - 1978
William Jackson 1960 - 1968
Dexter McCarty 1951 - 1960
Gordon Russell 1948 - 1951
Roy Quicksall 1948