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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin
(1997)

Wisconsin High School,   pp. 159-161


Page 160

Fig. 2. August
12, 1993, the
Wisconsin High
School is demol-
ished to make
way for the
Biotechnology
Center. [Author
Photo, AP-9]
Board of Visitors urged the University to establish a demonstration school. President Van Hise also
declared that year that a model school was needed. As a first attempt to meet this goal, the regents
made arrangements with Madison area high schools to accommodate student observers.
In 1910 Charlotte Richmond the owner and operator of a private school called the Wisconsin
Academy, at Gilman and State streets donated it to the University who reopened it in September
1911 as the Wisconsin High School. This temporary measure gave the University an opportunity to
begin the kind of teacher instruction it envisioned. The University hired as principal Harry L. Miller,
who answered to Edward Elliot, director of the course for training teachers. The Wisconsin High
School was a private school, with tuition initially set at $8 per quarter. The school was organized as a
six-year school (grades seven, eight, and the four years of high school), making it a very early ex-
ample of a combined junior and senior high school, reflecting some of the most progressive thinking
in the field of education at the time.
The regents report of 1909-19 10 contains an estimate by Van Hise of about $150,000 to build
and equip a University secondary school. In 1911 the legislature appropriated $62,500 for the Wis-
consin High School Building, about one-third the projected cost of the building at that time. In 1913
the legislature added $45,000 to the appropriation. The University had discussed the project at length
with consulting architects Laird and Cret and with University supervising architect Peabody and had
plans for the building in hand shortly after the legislature acted.2 The site for the building was a
prominent spot on Henry Mall selected by Laird and Cret in their 1908 general plan.
The contract for the foundation was awarded to the Muskegon Construction Company for
$2783.50 on December 21, 1912. The regents accepted the bid of construction contractors The
Wisconsin Construction Company for $108,000 in April 1913.3 Construction began in July 1913.
Because the appropriation for the building was not sufficient for the whole project, the regents de-
cided to build only two-thirds of the building designed by Laird and Cret. At the same time, believing
that the remaining portion of the building would be added soon, they did not redesign the section that
they intended to build. The original design was a center section running north-south, nine bays (win-
dow sections) wide, with an east-west wing at each end. The reduced plan eliminated the wing on the
north end, and shortened the center section from nine to seven bays (see Fig. 1). The main entrance,
160


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