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South Junior High School

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South Junior High School

561 Portage Road, Niagara Falls, NY

  • Date Built: 1922-23
  • Total QREs: $$25,000,000
  • Total HTCs: $12,500,000, Federal; $12,500,000 State.
  • Additional funding provided by Low Income Housing Tax Credits

Preservation Studios’ Role:

Preservation Studios completed the Part Two of the Historic Preservation Certification Application as well as the National Register nomination.


South Junior High School is a fine example of school standardization in the early twentieth century, and more specifically, of the junior high school typology that emerged nationwide to serve intermediate grades and to promote post-elementary retention. South Junior High School is one of two junior high schools constructed in Niagara Falls in 1922-1923 and the building reflects the specific needs of this intermediary age group with a variety of manual training rooms, uniform sized classrooms, and two gymnasiums. It was designed by respected local architects Carlos Chipman Lacy and Norton H. Kirkpatrick of the Associated Architects in conjunction with William B. Ittner, a prior Commissioner of School Buildings for the St. Louis Board of Education and member of the National Education Association’s Committee on Administration of Secondary Education

By the time the Niagara Falls School District commissioned South Junior and North Junior High Schools in 1919, the school district had thirteen elementary schools and one high school. The rapid and continued growth of the city through the nineteenth and early twentieth century strained the school district’s infrastructure. The addition of two junior high schools c.1922 not only provided additional instruction space but also represented a new trend in education, specifically serving intermediate ages. While constructed specifically to be a junior high school, South Junior High School housed high school students during its first year in service, after a fire leveled the existing high school in 1922. Returning to its original intention the following year, South Junior served as a junior high school from 1924 to 1985, when it closed due to low enrollment. It later housed the Community Education Center and has been vacant since ca. 2000.

It is presently being rehabilitated for new apartments while respecting the unique architectural character of the building. The rehabilitation is additionally utilizing the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program as administered by the NYS Homes and Community Renewal

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