Picture of Griffith
Griffith Elementary School History
Colonel Bruce Griffith Elementary School was erected to relieve the crowded conditions existing at Allen and South Hillside schools. In establishing boundaries a part of the Schweiter School district was included. The school was opened for classes October 24, 1958 with Miss Mabel Oberwortmann, principal; a staff of 12 teachers; and 369 pupils.
Griffith School is located on 5.2 acres on the northwest corner of the L.W. Clapp Golf Course. The ground was donated to the Board of Education by the Park Department of the City of Wichita. Construction was commenced April 21, 1958 by E.W. Johnson Construction Company and completed October 15, 1958 at an approximate cost of $275,000. Ralph L. Hollis was the architect. The building consits of 13 classrooms, a library which was expanded in 1970, multipurpose room with stage, faculty room, workroom, general office, principal's office, and boiler and custodian's rooms plus stoage space. In 1987 the library was air conditioned.
In 1989 Griffith was combined with South Hillside. Griffith houses grades 3-5 and South Hillside houses K-2 students with one principal for both schools.
Colonel Bruce Griffith, in whose memory the school was named, came to Wichita from New York in 1893 as minister of Brown Memorial Reform Church. He left the ministry in 1910 to enter the insurance field. He joined the National Guard and was promoted to Lieutenane Colonel in World War I. In 1930 he was appointed by President Herbert Hoover as Postmaster of Wichita, which position he held for a number of years. Because of his interest in education, he was elected to the Wichita Board of Education and served for 20 years. He died in 1956 at the age of 88 years.
In April 2000, the voters of the Wichita School District approved a $284.5 million bond issue. The projects began in the fall of 2000 and were completed over the next five years. The plan built 19 multipurpose rooms, upgraded science labs, replaced portable classrooms with permanent construction, improved handicap accessibility to all buildings, rebuilt five existing elementary schools, added a new elementary and middle school, expanded seven other elementary schools and provided nine new libraries as well as the expansion of nine others. Building infrastructure in 82 buildings was also upgraded, including the replacement of antiquated plumbing, updates and expansion of electrical systems, replacement of inefficient or broken windows and doors, upgrades of heating and cooling systems, and asbestos abatement when required.
The architectural firm of Gossen Livingston Associates, Inc. and construction company E.W. Johnson helped give Griffith the update it needed. Griffith received a new addition including a library, 14 classrooms and a kitchen, and the student support area was remodeled as well. The district used Bond issue dollars, FEMA and Capital Outlay to complete the addition and renovation project, for an estimated total cost of $3,208.000. The dedication ceremony was held April 3, 2003.