Will G. Price Elementary School
Will G. Price Elementary School opened for classes in the fall of 1957 with an enrollment of 171 pupils, six full-time teachers and one half-time. The staff of 15 included the principal, special services, a secretery and a custodian. Of the 14 regular classrooms, seven were used full time, and the school had a library and an all-purpose room situated in the center of two wings of classrooms.
The school was named in honor of the late Will G. Price. Mr. Price came to Wichita in 1879 with his parents. He attended Kellogg School and graduated from Wichita High School. He chose school teaching as a career and enrolled in the County Normal School to enable him to qualify for teaching. During the summer months he attended the Wichita Commercial College to learn shorthand, typing, penmanship and bookkeeping. He then taught at Wellington High School, Wellington, Kansas. He later joined two teachers at the Wichita Commercial College forming a partnership and started a new business college, the Wichita Business College. He operated the school until 1916. Mr. Price was never too busy to serve his community and devoted himself to numerous civic activities. He helped found the Wichita Boy Scouts and was instrumental in organizing the Wichita Planning Commission, serving as a member for its first 12 years.
As the Price community continued to grow, the enrollment also grew. By the year 1959-60, the enrollment had increased to 310 pupils with 11 teachers. In 1961-62, the annexation of Spring Acres by the city added to the Price School community, and the enrollment jumped to 381 with 14 teachers on the staff. The following years the enrollment showed a slight decline, and the staff varied from one to two teachers.
By the 1966-67 school year, a boundary change was made to relieve a neighboring school of crowded conditions. This transferred approximately 50 students to Price. Enrollment again jumped to 382, with a staff of 14 teachers. With more building of homes north of 13th Street, the enrollment reached a peak of 413 in 1967-68. A drop to 385 in 1968-69 began a gradual decline to between 250 to 300 pupils in the 1970s.
In 1969-70, the school library was enlarged by removing a wall between the library and room six, thus making possible all expansion of the audiovisual activities.
Enrollment further declined to the low 200s in the 1980s as the number of neighborhood school age children fell. In the late 1980s, a Latch Key program was begun at Price to accommodate the needs of working parents for before and after school care.
The 1989-90 school year brought the merger of Price with Harris Elementary to become a single school located on two campuses. The Price facility housed kindergarten through second grade while the Harris campus housed third through the fifth grade. The attendance area of Price-Harris was expanded in 1991 to include the Williamsburg development. Enrollment at the Price campus averaged about 175 students. The school population mirrored the demographic changes of the district as a whole.
Beginning the 1996-97 school year, Price-Harris converted to a communications magnet school.
Kos Harris Elementary School
Kos Harris Elementary School was completed in 1956. The first year of operation Miss Nan Wade was the principal, and there were six teachers with an enrollment of 132. Two portables were added, one in 1965 and one in 1966.
The building was constructed by Caro Construction Company with C.A. Griffin and F.L. McAleavey as the architects. The cost was $213,000. The building contains 21,639 square feet with 14 classrooms, a library, general purpose room, offices, kitchen and a teachers' lounge. The grounds include 10.7 acres.
The school was named after Mr. Kos Harris, one of Wichita's earliest citizens who was also one of the city's first lawyers. Mr. Harris's father was an early judge and set up a law practice in Wichita in 1874. Upon the death of his father, Kos Harris practiced law with his son, Vermillion Harris, until he retired in 1924 - 50 years to the day after he opened a law office in Wichita. "Fifty years is long enough for any lawyer to practice law," he commented, and never returned to his office. Mr. Harris was regarded as a profound student of the law and a versatile lawyer, trying both civil and criminal cases. He took active interest in civic affairs. He was a member of the Board of Trade (precursor of the Chamber of Commerce), served on the Board of Education from 1881 to 1885, helped initiate the building of Forum, wrote authoritative chronicles of the history of the plains, was a member of the Pioneer Society of Sedgwick County and was a life member of the Kansas Historical Society.
The memorial resolution adopted by the Wichita bar in 1931 following his death on October 10, noted: "He was more than a lawyer; he was a friend, a philosopher, a scholar, a pioneer, an historian of the community in which he lived his life. To preserve that part in accurate detail, he devoted his time and his talent to a greater degree than any other citizen in Wichita."
Enrollment grew through the 1960s, reaching a peak of 492 in 1965-66. To alleviate the overcrowded conditions, a portion of Harris enrollment area was reassigned to neighboring Price Elementary in 1966-67. A gradual decline in enrollment followed, leveling to around 300 by the late '80s. Beginning the 1989-90 school year, Harris was merged with Price Elementary School to become Price-Harris, a single school located on two campuses. Harris housed grades 3-5 and Prices housed K-2 students with one principal for both schools.
The attendance area of Price-Harris was expanded in 1991 to include the Williamsburg development. Enrollment for Price-Harris rose to the low 400s by 1995. The school population mirrored the demographic changes of the district as a whole.
Beginning the 1996-97 school year, Price-Harris was converted to a communications magnet school.
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 Price Campus closed in the fall of 2004 and the students were moved to the Harris Campus after the addition and renovations were completed. The board approved the reopening of the Price building and moved the Alcott Academy Middle School program to the Price building. On June 26, 2006 the site was renamed Blackbear Bosin Academy.
When the students were combined at the end of the 2004-05 school year, the name was changed to Price-Harris Communications Magnet.
The bond project dedication ceremony was held on October 27, 2005.