History in the Making

The record of construction at West Albany

Dezmond Remington, Co-Editor in Chief

 

1953 Yearbook  The Current West Albany building, right after it was built in 1953, with almost no nearby buildings

 

1902 Whirlwind The original Albany High School. This was the first high school in Albany, built in 1902.

WEST ALBANY is currently being ripped asunder to reconstruct and add to the school. Though this construction is a recent development, there have been many remodels and rebuilds done on the building over its 60 year history.

There have been four additions since the original inception of West Albany. The original building is everything except the lower part of F hall (added in 2008), as well as most of G Hall and the band and choir rooms, which were added in a later edition.

“G1, and the office down there, those were new,” said Engel. “All of the classrooms down there, the ones that face Memorial, you actually had to go outside the building. There wasn’t a hall there; it just ended past the wood shop.”

Another important change that occurred was the controversial addition of parking spaces in the front of the school. “[The front] was just a bus lane and a huge grass area,” says Albany Public Schools Foundation president and five-years retired West Albany teacher, Joanne Alford. “They took the grass out, and that was fairly controversial because it was grass and trees. By doing that, they created all this teacher parking which wasn’t there.”

With the creation of those parking spaces, space was opened for students. “They opened up parking on Liberty street to students,” said Alford. “That wasn’t there. Before that, students would just park around the neighborhoods. So the students would be late to class and people around town would be saying people are parking in front of my house.

As of now, construction is on schedule, accord- ing to Engel. “We have a meeting every Thursday [with the contractor]. Obviously, the walls for the auxiliary gym are done. Basically, the footprint for the entire site is done, so all the utilities are plumbed in, and the foundations and things are basically all done. So over the next few months, wall will start going up and things will really start to take shape. Also, the stadium remodel is expected to be completed the first part of November.”

Though the construction of the building may take a while, Alford expects the impact will be positive. “The school has never had a performing arts complex,” said Alford, “and they put on amazing performances and they’ve had to do it in the cafeteria. A school our size, that’s necessary.”

“When I started, I had classes of 15-20 students,” said Alford. “When I left, there were 40. The school wasn’t built for 40 kids in a classroom. The over- crowding is a real issue.”

“It’s an old building and it’s really time for a change,” said Alford.