S.S. #3 School (L.J. Atkinson School)

In 1910, the Department of Education permitted Garson to build a public school (to be called S.S. #3) on Pine Street. This building was a one-room schoolhouse, but with the increasing number of students, an additional classroom had to be added to the school by 1914.

L.J. Atkinson School. Photo courtesy of "Nickel Centre Yesterdays".As the mine prospered and more families moved to the area, a third schoolroom was required. Instead of building another addition to the existing school, the school board opted to temporarily convert a home on Henry Street into a schoolroom. This room was utilized until 1918.

Class sizes between 1910 and 1915 were often quite large, averaging 58 students to one teacher and by 1918, students attending the schoolhouse ranged from grade one to grade eight. During this year, it was determined that a third room needed to be added to the schoolhouse to accommodate the number of pupils. However, even with this addition, it wouldn't be long before more classroom space was required.

In 1925, the number of students in the Garson school system had increased to a point where a fourth classroom was needed. The board decided that the primary students would be moved from the schoolhouse to a house on Church Street (which was three buildings down from the Pine Street school) to avoid building yet another addition. At this time, the school was trying to accommodate over 150 children in four classrooms.

By 1927, it was obvious that a new school needed to be built to provide enough classrooms for the influx of students. It was determined that the old schoolhouse would be torn down and a new five-room, brick building erected in its place. Construction on the new school began on June 1st of that year and was completed within three months. The original room of the school was removed prior to construction and was renovated to serve as the United Church.

Also during this year, the school board opted to introduce a ninth grade at S.S. #3. Students from S.S. #5 were invited to attend S.S. #3 for their ninth grade education and in return, S.S. #5 permitted those students who were closer to the Skead Road school to attend their facility.

The first principal for the newly constructed school was Mr. A. Staniland. He stayed on for a brief term before being replaced by Mr. Leander J. Atkinson in 1928. Mr. Atkinson served as principal for S.S. #3 school for 33 years before finally retiring in December of 1961. During his tenure, he was a strict principal who believed that the school should provide the best education possible for its students. The children who attended school during his term were well-aware that the only purpose in going was to obtain a quality education, not to "slack off".


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