West Park Elementary was completed in 2020, combining the former William Allen White Elementary and Parker Elementary Schools into a new, state-of-the art facility. Here is some general historic information on our area schools:
William Allen White Elementary School
In 1953, 20 acres were purchased for the site at 43rd and Georgia, with West Junior High being erected in 1956 with 26 rooms. West Elementary School (now named William Allen White Elementary School) was included in the plans and built physically next door to West Junior High.
In November of 1958, a contract for a new elementary school at 44th and Georgia awarded to Bob Eldridge Construction Company. Meyn and Deardorf, architects. Paoli E. C. Masaglia and Associates, mechanical engineers.
The site was located on 16-acre tract for West Junior High and the contractor was to have 400 days to build, returning $100 for each day over contract. The building was to have eleven classrooms, two kindergartens, library, and office. Part of the building to be built on piers covering a paved area. There would be space for six rooms later. The new building opened in 1960 and was named in honor of William Allen White, Emporia newspaper editor, KS gubernatorial candidate, and a man in the front line against the Klu Klux Klan in Kansas in the 1920s. In October of 1960, the PTA was organized and Mrs. Peter Carr was president. An open house was held on November 15.
In 2001, voters approved a proposed $120 million bond issue at the Municipal Election Tuesday (April 3, 2001) to air-condition schools, improve technology, and make other upgrades to schools and public libraries. W A White was part of Phase I, which was completed in the summer of 2001.
William Allen White Elementary School closed after the 2019-2020 school year, and it’s students moved into the new West Park Elementary School.
Parker Elementary School
Feb 26, 1942 – Parker Elementary School of Kansas City, Kansas, was chosen for an award, by the American Institute of Architects, as being the best public building erected in 1940 in the area, including western Missouri and eastern Kansas. (See Kansan articles in “Picture Gallery” – link above.)
From Mrs. Pearl Williams Driggs, first Principal of Parker, written in 1933-34 . . . . . .
The original Parker School was opened in September of 1911. A temporary building was built at the southeast corner of 37th and Parallel. The building was not ready when school started and the first two weeks of school was held in a room at Wilson, Hall, one of the Kansas City University Buildings.
The following year the Board of Education bought the present site and erected another one-room building on the northwest corner of the site. Miss Leona Averill was the teacher and this building was used four years.
During that time, Queen’s Garden [45th to 47th & Parallel] patrons wanted a school at Queen’s Garden and the board decided to move the building to Queen’s Garden but before they got it moved, the Parker people, who did not want it moved, protected. The building was not moved.
The next year at Queen’s Garden, Miss Mamie Winfrey was appointed teacher. Parker pupils attended in the morning, and Queen’s Garden pupils attended in the afternoon.
After a few weeks it was decided that Miss Williams teach all day and Miss Winfrey help Miss Averill in the morning and Miss Williams in the afternoon.
The present building was opened September 1915. Miss Katherine Van Dorn was appointed the third teacher. The building was not completed when school started and Miss Van Dorn has classes had classes in the bungalow for a few months.
Achievements of former Parker pupils: (1) One of the boys whose mother brought him to school that first day at Wilson Hall and who cried and followed her out of the building screaming, went through Parker High School and William Jewell College. He (William Farrington) won a scholarship to Yale, walked there, spent his year, and then taught in a Detroit High School. Since then he has made two trips to South America in the interest of some diamond mines and at present is in Los Angeles. (2) Another boy (Horace Williams) is a missionary in China serving his second appointment. (3) One of the first year pupils taught in a high school several years and is now the wife of a doctor about one hundred miles from Kansas City. (3) Another girl is the wife of a Scout executive in Colorado. Her husband is also a former pupil and was in the first graduating class. (4) One of the boys (Chester Kunz) was appointed to the Naval Academy at Annapolis and graduated several years ago. (5) Another boy (Gerard Cowan) graduated from West Point a year ago last June. He is a lieutenant in the Cavalry. He has been in charge of a C. C. Camp in Wyoming but is being transferred to Los Angeles. (6) Two of the boys are farmers in the country, some of the girls are teaching. Many are married and sending their children to Parker. They are all taking their places in the life of the community, taking active parts in churches and other worthwhile things. Parker has been doing its part in making useful citizens. Parker Elemntary School was closed as of the 2019-20 School year; it’s students moved to William Allen White Elementary School for that school year.
1911 – A one-room portable building on the southeast corner of 37th and Parallel served from 1911 and 1915 as a school for University Place . It housed four grades and was later known as Parker School. The first two weeks of the school term of 1911 it occupied a room in Wilson Hall of Kansas City University. Pearl Williams was the teacher.
Named for Colonel Francis W. Parker, an educator of national renown from Quincy, Massachusetts, who gained fame as supervisor of the Boston schools and as principal of the Cook County Normal School in Illinois. Teacher was Miss Pearl Williams.
1912 – Ground purchased at 33rd and Haskell. One-room portable erected on northwest corner of 33rd and Cleveland . Leona Averill was the teacher. For awhile, Queen’s Garden children attended half days at Parker at 37th and Parallel. (Queen’s Garden: Queen’s Garden was located at what is now 45th and Greeley in Kansas City, Kansas . This suburban subdivision was at some distance to the west of the city limits, but closer in than Brenner Heights . It was platted on April 18, 1911, by J. O. and Leafa Fife. It was at this time that Hoel briefly formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, George C. Fife, as Hole-Fife & Co., with his brother William B. Hoel as salesman.)
1909-1925 – Rose/Peterson, Architects – Three bond issues (1910, 1914, 1921) provided funds for the construction of school buildings from this period. Borrowing elements from Jacobethan architecture are five schools designed by Rose and Peterson in the early years of their partnership. Along with the annex building for Prescott Elementary School (1910), this group of structures includes four other elementary schools: Bryant Annex, Chelsea I, Parker I, and Francis Willard, all constructed in 1914-15. These “Cottage Plan” schools, as they were called during the 1914 bond campaign, are consistent in style, floor plan, and design.
NOTE: From the Historical and Architectural Survey, KC Planning & Zoning, Phase 4, 1994: Rose and Peterson, Architects. The first Parker Elementary School (later Parker Annex) was a “Cottage Plan” building constructed in 1914-15 and is identical in design to Chelsea Elementary School . Also of note is the second Parker School building adjacent to the west, a prize winning design by Joseph W. Radotinsky (1938-40), who was employed at one time by W. W. Rose.
1915 – Red brick building erected at 33rd and Haskell. First PTA organized. Mrs. F D Renshaw, president.
1928 – Ground purchased for new building adjacent to old.
1939-40 – New building erected at 33rd and Haskell. Joseph W Radotinsky, architect, and Lysle W Weeks, contractor. Building built under the auspices of the WPA.
1942 – February 25. Announcement that Parker School had been awarded medal by Kansas City Chapter of American Institute of Architecture. Judged best public building erected in 1940 in an area including the west half of Missouri and the city of Kansas City, Kansas.
July. American School Board Journal issue carried article and pictures of new Parker and Sumner.
1953 – Because the area west of it had no school facilities, Parker operated on half-day sessions in several rooms to accommodate the children west of the district
2000 – School closed as elementary school. Opened as Parker Early Childhood Center for Pre-School and Kindergarten.
2001 – Voters approved a proposed $120 million bond issue at the Municipal Election Tuesday (April 3, 2001) to air-condition schools, improve technology, and make other upgrades to schools and public libraries. Parker Preschool was part of Phase I, which was completed in the summer of 2001.
2004 – With the school year beginning in 2004, the preschool classes at Parker are being housed in the new Education Center, located at the junction of State Avenue and I-635 (4601 State) in the Indian Springs Marketplace. The site was formerly J. C. Penny’s Retail at the Indian Springs Mall.
2008 – Former Parker school became a charter school, M R Hollman Academy