AURORA - There’s a building on the corner of Jamaica Street and Eighth Avenue that has a lot more significance than might first meet the eye.
Jamaica Child Development Center is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination was part of a larger effort to recognize similar schools built from 1945 to 1970 that represent a unique time in the history of the Denver metro area.
What makes what was once Jamaica Primary School unique is the fact that it’s maintained a lot of its original charm – especially compared to some other schools built during that time period that have since been renovated quite significantly.
Jamaica Primary was first built in the Havana Park subdivision of Aurora in 1958. This was in the middle of Aurora’s population boom.
In 1950, the Denver suburb had only 11,421 residents – that grew to 48,543 in 1960, which meant that the school district had to keep up with the increased demand.
Situated in a neighborhood filled with mid-century ranch houses, JPS was originally a conceptualized as a small community school with eight classrooms for kindergarten through third grade students.
Like two other nearby schools that have since been demolished, Jamaica Primary was designed by Atchison and Kloverstorm.
Here are some of the attributes at Jamaica Primary that make it “an excellent example of mid-20th century school design,” according to the application sent to the National Register of Historic Places:
-Flat-roofed, single-story design
-Irregular layout planned around a courtyard
-Steel-frame construction with brick facing
-Large bands of windows
-Exterior doors to individual classrooms
-Inclusion of a multi-purpose room
The school also hasn’t gone through significant modifications since it was built – unlike many others in the area.
As for the historic significance? According to the application, it comes down to how it reflects the “progressive education movement” – as well as its role in helping Aurora grow “from a small town to a major city.”
You can see the full application for Jamaica Primary here: http://bit.ly/2tlq3bS
And for a closer look at Colorado’s mid-century schools, click here: http://bit.ly/2tqpiym
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