Irving, now located at 1642 North Market, is one of the oldest schools in Wichita. The school opened in a one-room, four-grade frame building in what was, at that time, called the Fourth Ward. The exact date when this small building was erected and opened for school is not known.
Miss Leida Mills taught in the old building for a number of years starting in 1884. In 1887, a new building facing Lawrence Road (now Broadway) was erected. This building was designed by Proudfoot and Bird, architects, and and contained eight classrooms. Miss Mills was the first principal. Irving was named for Washington Irving, American essayist, novelist and historian.
Until the construction of Waco Elementary School in 1907, the Irving district was larger than it is at present. The school included grades one through eight until the construction of Horace Mann Intermediate School. For many years Irving was located in the hear of one of the finest residential areas of Wichita and was attended by children of prominent citizens.
The building constructed in 1887 was replaced in 1941 by the present building designed by Lorenz Schmidt. This colonial type building facing Market Street was expanded by portables to accommodate the growing population. The enrollment averaged about 400 pupils and at times exceeded 500. Since the building capacity was 350, it was necessary to divide the auditorium and to erect seven portables on the campus. The 1974 bond election provided funds to add a multipurpose room, six classrooms, restrooms and to covert the old multipurpose room to a library. Woodman and Van Doren were the architects for this addition which was completed in 1976.
In 1989, Irving was combined with Horace Mann and Park elementaries to become a foreign language magnet elementary school with grades PK-2 housed at Irving and Park, and 3-5 hosed at Horace Mann. Until 1995, the building administrator was considered an assistant principal. In 1995, the campus administrator was designated as principal.
In April 2000, the voters of the Wichita Public 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 al 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.
To have sufficient space to complete the Irving remodel and construction, the district purchased the property at 1620-22 N. Market. With the help of architects Law Kingdom, Inc. and Rainbow Construction, Irving received a new addition including six classrooms and renovations for both student support and the 2nd-floor restrooms. Additional parking was added to the school, and the bus loading/unloading areas were upgraded.
The Bond project dedication ceremony was held October 29, 2002.
In 2009, voters again approved a bond issue. construction began in September 2010 and was completed in April 2012, with the dedication occurring on May 5th. The recent improvements include: 6 new classroom spaces, new FEMA safe room/gym, new library, and renovations in the main office, a former classroom (creating a small office suite), and the former library (creating 3 teaching spaces). Irving has grown by over 100 students since the previous bond issue, and will now be able to educate a population that can be served in a four-section school.
We are thankful to Wichita voters and their support!