History of Maryvale School System

  • THE ERA OF THE ONE-ROOM SCHOOL EVENTUALLY GAVE WAY TO

    It is difficult to ascertain and identify the first legally established school district in the Town of Cheektowaga. Until 1839 this area was part of the Town of Amherst. On March 22, 1839 Amherst was divided and the Town of Cheektowaga ("Land of the Crab Apple") was established. On June 24, 1839 it was resolved that District #13 of Amherst be known as District #2 of Cheektowaga.

    In 1873 land was purchased on the corner of Williamsville Rd. (now Cayuga Rd.) and School Rd. (now Maryvale Dr.) for the construction of a one-room brick school. This building served the children of the community until the 1920's. ... THE FOUR ROOM SCHOOL On November 24, 1922, a resolution was passed to construct a four-room brick school. Built at a cost of $36,000 the Cayuga Rd. school was adequate until the early 1940's. In 1942 the mortgage was burned. (4 teachers were employed at that time). Although the Cayuga Rd. school was free of debt, the building was not large enough to meet the needs of children of a rapidly growing population. Spurred by the influx of workers in local defense plants, housing units in the town sprang up quickly. The student population had increased to point that new school facilities were necessary. The School Board with subsidies from the Federal Government, obtained land on Union Road and constructed a five room school. The structure, located at the north end of the Airport Plaza, was utilized as a school from 1944-49 when it became the Cheektowaga Post Office (since moved).

    THE COMMON SCHOOL DISTRICT BECOMES UNION FREE AS THE POPULATION EXPLODES

    A new era in the development of the District began at the end of World War II. Heretofore a common school district (3-member board), Maryvale became a Union Free School District (5-member board). The change was significant because it would enable the district to eventually build its own high school. Meanwhile both the Cayuga Rd. school and the Union Rd. school soon became inadequate to house a mushrooming student enrollment. On June 3, 1947, after several successful bond votes, a bond issue was passed for the purchase of land and construction of a school at a cost of $850,000. The new school was built on a site on Maryvale Dr., just east of Beach Rd. (this is often considered the actual beginning of the District as it is known today). By January 3, 1949, all of the children in the Maryvale District (from K-8) attended classes in one, 25-room building (777 Maryvale Drive). High School students still had to attend Depew or Pine Hill High Schools.

    THE NEED FOR A COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOL

    The growth problem was not peculiar to Maryvale alone. Other district’s schools in the Town were also overcrowded. By the 1950's, the Maryvale School Board was finding it impossible to place High School students with other districts. On June 7, 1950, a special meeting was held and a favorable vote obtained on a $1,625,000 bond issue to construct a new 850 student Junior- Senior High School. A supplementary vote for the construction of a swimming pool passed on February 19, 1951. The District’s first Junior-Senior High School was opened for classes in September of 1952 (1050 Maryvale Drive. The site of the current High School).

    In the spring of 1954 the Cayuga Rd. school was closed. Residential construction continued unabated. In 1956 the District’s population had grown to 18,000 residents. Increases in the numbers of students forced a continuous building program from 1953-1965, which included the construction of three additional elementary schools, a Junior High School, additions to the three elementary schools and the Junior and Senior High Schools and a new grades 7-8 Junior High School.

    THROUGH THE 60's AND 70's WE CONTINUE TO GROW

    A student enrollment profile from 1931 through 1965 revealed that the District had steadily increased from a total of 137 students (1931) to 6,333 students (1965). As the decade of the 60's drew to a close, an estimated 7,500 students (1969-70 school year) reported to six schools that comprised the Maryvale School District at the time. Beginning with the 1968-69 school year, sixth graders from East Elementary and U-Crest Elementary were housed on the secondary school campus –a move necessitated by the large number of elementary school students in the southern portion of the District and the limited facilities available in that area. With the advent of the 1970's, Maryvale continued to undergo significant changes. Student enrollment was still on the up-swing at the beginning of the decade.

    In 1970 the Samuel R. Bennett Administration Building was opened and housed sixth graders from Maryvale East and U-Crest Elementary. In 1972 Maryvale became a Superintendency. Dr. Samuel R. Bennett who served as District Principal from 1951 and then as Superintendent from 1972, retired in 1974. In that same year, Dr. Robert A. Binner was appointed Superintendent of Schools (a position he held until his retirement in 1992). In 1974 because of shifting populations, sixth graders returned to Maryvale East and U-Crest and half of the ninth graders were housed in the Bennett Building. As the decade progressed, student enrollment began to decrease. By the end of the decade our student population numbered 4,667.

    POPULATION DECLINES

    In the 1980's difficult decisions had to made regarding the future of district facilities in light of the declining enrollment. The Planning Board’s "Energy and Facilities" committee solicited suggestions from the community during two public hearings in 1983. As a result of the hearings and a full review of all recommendations, the Board of Education voted to close three elementary buildings-- North Hill, Maryvale East and Maryvale Elementary–in 1984 and to restructure the District to include Primary, Intermediate, Middle and High Schools. U-Crest was designated as the Primary School (K-2); the 7-8 Junior High Building was designated as the District’s Intermediate/Middle School (3-8); the Senior High continued to house students 9-12. The original K-8 elementary school (Maryvale Elementary, 1947 became the Continuing/Community Education Building.)

    THE 80's AND 90'S...AND BEYOND

    In 1989 the District undertook a 12-million-dollar reconstruction project which included asbestos abatement, the addition of several grade 3 classrooms in the Intermediate School, a major renovation of the district libraries, athletic facilities and offices. In 1992 the District appointed its third superintendent, Mr. Gary Brader and under whose leadership the District has entered the new century. In 1999 the District again undertook a reconstruction project dedicated to infrastructure issues such as roofs, electric power distribution (to complete the Technology Plan and an Access Control project), parking lots and digital upgrades to the HVAC controls. In 1993 the Continuing/Community Education Building was re-dedicated in honor of Dr. Robert A. Binner, former Superintendent. During the 1990's the district’s enrollment has seen some minor fluctuations but has remained fairly constant at about 2,500 students. IT STARTS WITH THE COMMUNITY Over the years, the challenges of the past were met by the many men and women in our District who gave generously of their time and dedication in service to the Board, on our PTOs and the various citizen committees that advise our administrative staff. Further, those challenges were met by thousands of teachers and non-teaching professionals who brought their love of learning and children to the classrooms of the district. The Maryvale School District prides itself on its deep sense of community and its total commitment to maintain the excellence in education that our residents have been accustomed to respect. (thanks to Mr. Edward Szemraj, Library Media Coordinator , Ret., for much of the research and writing of this history ).

    As the District has moved into the 21st Century, it began the process of making a careful examination of its facilities which were now well over 50 years old in some cases. Maryvale’s buildings and playing fields have enjoyed a wonderful reputation over the many years because all of them are used not only by the K-12 program, but also by the community at large through its expansive Community Education program. Our community has understood that enhancing its facilities also enhances its property values while providing a well-rounded program for its youngsters.

    Beginning in 2003, much needed improvements were made to the "telecommunications" network in the High School, the oldest of the facilities housing the K-12 program. It included classroom phones and a new PA and intercom system for the 11-12 building. In 2005-06 the Board approved a $2.4-million-dollar energy performance contract to replace its very old and inefficient lighting system with new, energy efficient lighting. The dollars saved in utility costs are paying for the entire project.

    Most recently, in 2006, the voters of the District approved a $34.7-million-dollar reconstruction project focused primarily on upgrading the facilities in the 11-12 building. Among the more notable efforts in this project will be the addition of a new swimming pool wing that will provide a much needed 8 lane competition pool and will reuse the old pool area as an expanded fitness center with improved locker rooms. In keeping with Maryvale’s tradition as a "community school", these new facilities will be available for use by the community through the District’s Community Education program.

    In addition to the new pool area and a reconstructed parking area for that venue, the project will also address the old science wing area of the building, moving all science classes to a state of the art wing to be located on the second floor of the 9-10 building in the area of the current art wing which will be accessible from the second floor of the 11-12 building by the addition of a new connecting corridor on the second floor.

    Another notable improvement addressed the aging football stadium area. A new 8 lane all weather competition track was installed surrounded by improved bleachers, a new press box and lighting for evening activities.

    In October of 2009 Mrs. Deborah Ziolkowski became the fourth Superintendent of the Maryvale Union Free School District.  During her tenure at Maryvale, the district hit of time of fiscal uncertainty and declining student enrollment.  In an attempt to stabilize the district, massive layoffs took place and the sale of district properties.  The district sold the old North Hill Elementary building and Dr. Robert A. Binner Community Education building.  With the sale of the Community Education building located at 777 Maryvale Drive, the program moved to the main campus located at 1050 Maryvale Drive.  With the move, the 9-10 building was re-dedicated to the Dr. Robert A Binner building since the old building was sold off.

    In 2012 district residents voted on and approved a bond project. This project made improvements to the rest of the windows on the main campus, brought state of the art interactive projectors to each classroom in the district and updated the safety/emergency systems around the district   

    TODAY AT MARYVALE

    In September of 2015 Mr. Joseph R. D’Angelo became the fifth Superintendent of the Maryvale Union Free School District.  The student population is holding steady with approximatley 2200 students.  The district is currenly fiscaly stable once again. 

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