In October of 1911, the commissioner of the Interior Department, John A. Wilson, announced a contest to design a new school in Puerta de Tierra. Architect G.R. Gilmour won the competition, and the F.B. Hatch firm built the structure in 1912 and 1913.
The school, built of reinforced concrete, is two stories tall and has a basement. It displays elements of the California mission style that was inspired by the architecture of the Catholic missions in the southwestern United States, especially California. It displays features of Spanish architecture, which was preferred for structures built by the United States government because it was more closely related to Puerto Rican culture.
The main facades of the building face east and west, and their composition emphasizes a horizontal theme with continuous rows of windows and extended eaves of tiletile: piece of baked clay, generally squared with the front face coated with a glaze surface, which is used to cover walls. They may be of one color or decorated; the latter based on relief of hand-painted ornamental motif or screen-printed.. The entrance and the corners are emphasized by curved parapets, mosaics, and a balcony above the main entrance, supported by ornamental volutes. The north and south facades face closed patios that serve as recreation areas. Both facades are similar, except for the balcony. The two floors in the rectangular building are divided by a hallway that provides access to four rooms on each side. At the end of this hallway are the entrance and the administrative offices. The game rooms, restrooms and storage spaces are located in the basement.
Today, the building houses a public elementary school and still carries the same name, in honor to whom was the first Educational Commissar with the US government.
Adapted by the PROE Editorial Group
Original source: Catalog of Properties, National Register of Historic Sites, State Office of Historic Conservation, Office of the Governor, 1995.
Autor: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: January 07, 2010.