Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Marian M. Delaney (Eagle Avenue) School
The picture above comes from the front page of the Hempstead Sentinel from February 28, 1929 and is a front view of a newly built school on Eagle Avenue. The building was District 27's second school to be built, following the Chestnut Street School in 1912. During its first decade, the WH school district experienced a steady increase in its student population and by 1924, a four-room addition was built at Chestnut to accommodate the influx of students. But very shortly, even that proved inadequate. A series of meetings was then organized with the purpose of selecting two additional sites for schools, one in the southern section of the district, and another in the northern section. A 3-4 acre parcel was chosen on Oak(ford) St. with a purchase price of $15,000 and its acquisition would be decided by a voter referendum on March 1, 1926. In one of the most closely contested votes in District 27 history, residents rejected the proposal 113 to 110. Owing to the closeness of the vote, the school board decided to resubmit the proposal again the following month. Again, voters rejected it, this time by a count of 92 to 73.
The following year, on March 31, a vote was passed to acquire a $25K parcel on Eagle Avenue near the corner of Woodfield Rd. After a heated meeting, on April 26th, 1927, two bond proposals were floated, one for a $400K 16-room school house and the other for a $260K eight-room school to be built at that site. Both were soundly rejected. Finally on August 16, a $200,000 bond issue was approved and work commenced on the new school in the fall. A local firm from Hempstead, Kirwin Estabrook Construction Corp. was awarded the contract for the work. The firm specialized in school construction and had just recently completed the Fulton Ave School and Garden City School, among others. Ground was broken on Nov. 14. In a rare example of public works efficiency, construction of the eight-room building came in under budget at $185,000 and on Monday, November 5, 1928, nearly a year after work had started, students moved into their new school. The date for a formal dedication ceremony was chosen to coincide with Washington's Birthday and on February 21, 1929, the new building was dedicated amid much fanfare.
Among the faculty that first year was a sixth-grade teacher named Marian Delaney, who soon worked her way up to assistant principal and eventually principal of the school. In 1963, she retired and the following year, in appreciation of her 35 years at the school, the district decided to rededicate the Eagle Avenue School by renaming it the Marian M. Delaney school. Below is a photo of district officials conferring the naming of the school after Ms. Delaney (right), who is visibly moved by the gesture.
On November 6, 1949, an east wing addition to the building was dedicated, but by the 1970s, a declining enrollment forced the district to consolidate the student body of the southern section with the Cornwell Ave School. Parents petitioned the State Supreme Court unsuccessfully to keep the school open and by the 1981-82 school year, the district vacated Eagle Ave. For a time thereafter, the building was rented out by Adelphi University to run adult education programs. After that, Nassau County has since utilized the school for its BOCES program, but it was announced this past year that the County would not extend its lease beyond 2013, leaving the building's future in doubt.
Below is a "now" shot of the Eagle Ave "Marian M. Delaney" School.