East Side School
BY Pat Sides
Members of the Evansville School Board gathered to break ground for the construction of a new school in 1949. The action was spurred by the return of soldiers after the Second World War, which created an urgent need for new schools and family-sized dwellings to serve the surging population.
During this era, the city’s East Side was annexed, boosting the city’s area from 11.5 square miles to nearly 20.
East Side School, built at a cost of $900,000, opened in the fall of 1949, even though it was not yet completed. In its second year of existence, it was renamed Dexter School so that it wouldn’t be confused with nearby Harper School, then being renovated from a one-room schoolhouse into a larger facility.
Designed for 500 pupils, Dexter’s first-year enrollment reached nearly 600, forcing classes to be held in the cafeteria and on the auditorium’s stage. A new wing containing eight classrooms was finally added in 1955.