Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

078_Meredith Junior High School


078_Meredith Junior High School


This is a page from the collection "Bicentennial Reflections: History of Des Moines Public Schools, 1876-1976" by Dr. Robert R. Denny, published by the Des Moines Public Schools in Des Moines, Iowa in 1976.

File Name



76 MEREDITH JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL West 48th and Madison Grades 7, 8, 9 Meredith Junior High School was opened September 2, 1962. This building honors the memory of Edwin T. Meredith who served Iowa and the nation in the following capacities: Secretary of Agriculture of the United States Trustee of Drake University and Simpson College Publisher of Better Homes and Gardens, Successful Farming and others. Director of United States Chamber of Commerce Director of Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President of Associated Advertising Clubs of the World Member of the British War Commission The Meredith family donated the 50 acre site upon which Meredith Junior High School and Herbert Hoover High School are located. Meredith was originally planned and built under the "little school" plan, which involved three schools within a school, each with its wing principal. During the three year period the student was at Meredith he or she was assigned to the same homeroom and the same wing. This basic concept was followed until approximately 1970, when the adminstrative structure was changed to provide for a principal, one vice principal, and a centralized counseling arrangement. The original plan for Meredith involved the future addition of a senior high to the north of the junior high building. This was accomplished in the fall of 1967 when Herbert Hoover High School accepted its first students. These buildings share some common facilities, including the Meredith kitchen which prepares food to serve both schools, the Hoover auditorium is available for use by the junior high, and other sharing of facilities and staff. This joint sharing was further facilitated when the current principal of Meredith was appointed to administer both buildings in January of 1974. This has resulted in the plant and transportation force being combined under one head custodian for both buildings. An addition to the original structure opened in 1972. This addition included three general classrooms, a music room, and the remodeling of existing rooms to provide additional art and homemaking spaces. This addition allowed the removal of three portable classrooms that had been in use for several years. While the capacity of the original building was 750 students, enrollment had climbed to a high of 1,011 students in September of 1968. The use of the portable classrooms plus classroom space at Hoover was required to accommodate the overflow of students. A boundary change in 1968 transferred several students to Franklin and enrollment has gradually moved to approximately 850 students per year the past few years. Meredith Jr. High (Photograph) The school is continuing to maintain its student population, largely because of the open enrollment and the voluntary transfer program. Approximately 10 per cent of the current enrollment is made up of students who live outside the designated attendance area. The school operates on a basically traditional structure with various patterns of instruction, including team teaching and individualized approaches. Recent years have seen the addition of specialized personnel, including a police liaison officer, a social worker assigned to all schools in the area, a specific learning disabilities resource person, specialized reading instructor, and a special education resource person. Thus, while the thrust is still toward providing a basic background in the academic areas, increased provision is made to help all students according to their needs and abilities. Meredith received national publicity in an article, A Junior High Lhtle School, written by Dr. Robert Denny and Dr. Victor Mastin for the June, 1963, of the American School Board Journal. This article was reprinted in the October, 1963, issue of Midland Schools. Detailed information about Meredith: Original Building Size 81,350 square feet Contract let March 18, 1961 Site acquired (gift) 1957 Construction started — May 1, 1961 Cost General contractor Mechanical contractor Electrical contractor Total Architect's fee $68,690 Equipment $188,000 (Cost per square foot $16.90) Principals: 1962 - 1970 Victor Mastin 1970 - Gerald Dockum