The Second Ward Gymnasium is
a tall (30') masonry-clad building with a flat roof. The building
sits on relatively flat land on a fairly compact urban school
campus. The building fronts onto a paved parking lot and is
connected to the rest of the school buildings by a covered
walkway. The gymnasium is the eastern-most building on the campus,
which is composed of three other more recent one-story buildings. The walls
of the gymnasium are
constructed of masonry blocks veneered with brick laid in Common Flemish
Bond, a bond with five rows of stretchers separated by a single row of
alternating headers and stretchers. Steel posts set in
the masonry walls
support a steel roof frame. Built in 1949, the building exhibits a
distinctly Modernist architectural style. Typical of the Modernist
Style is the building's starkness, its lack of gratuitous ornamentation.
The building's facade, the west elevation, features a large expanse of
blank wall. Fenestration on the facade is limited. The
facade features two simple door openings set near the corners of the
building. The doors are sheltered with simple flat steel awnings.
The wall is topped with a ribbon of twenty-four tall replacement windows
that stretches the width of the building.
a typical element of the Modernist Style. The ribbon is composed
of twenty-four individual metal-framed windows containing translucent
fiberglass panels, with a single awning sash. The original windows
were multi-light sash windows. A covered walkway metal roof has
been attached to southern end of the facade to connect the gymnasium
with the newer school buildings.
plans were produced in 1979 and reflect the current condition of the building,
including the replacement windows.
Detail of southern corner of facade.
Common Flemish Bond
The north elevation is generally blank
with the major exception of a one-story, flat-roofed, masonry
projecting from the elevation's eastern corner. The vestibule originally featured
a recessed entrance sheltered by partial-width, shallow recessed porches on the north
and east elevations, and a narrow box-office on the north elevation that
extended to the edge of the roofline. The porches have been
filled-in with two sets of metal doors and brick walls, laid in a
running bond, to expand the interior space of the vestibule. The
box office features a small ticket window. The only
other feature of the north elevation is a simple wooden and sheet-metal
band that caps the stark masonry wall.
vestibule/box-office. The metal doors are located in an area that
was once an open recessed porch. The narrow box-office to the
right of the doors is original.
two-story wing projects from, and is centered on, the east
elevation. Originally fronting on a city street (South Myers
Street ), the east elevation features a symmetrical design. The
large projecting wing dominates the elevation and features the same
architectural elements found on the principal section of the
building. The wing is topped with a ribbon of twenty-two
replacement windows. The windows are short, with an operable sash
awning set below a short fixed panel. Located high in the
one-story-level is a second ribbon of short windows, set-in 4' from the
sides of the wing. Other than the windows and a simple wood and
metal cap the elevation is blank. The wing is 24' deep, and the
upper ribbon of windows wraps around the north-east corner, and extends
the width of the north elevation of the wing. The lack of a
"solid" wall underneath the wing's flat roof gives the
impression that the roof is floating above the wing. The roof is
actually supported by steel posts that are integrated into the frames of
the windows. The northern one-story vestibule obscures much of the
wing's north elevation and is balanced on the wing's south elevation by
a much smaller one-story vestibule that has retained its original
recessed entrance, now containing replacement metal doors.
The east elevation viewed from the south.
entrance to southern vestibule.
south elevation was designed as the least public of the
elevations. The elevation is dominated by a tall, windowless,
flat-roofed wing that houses a stage. Unlike the still frame of
the principal section of the gymnasium, the stage-wing appears to be a
solely masonry structure. The basement of the stage wing houses a
boiler room, with a tall, square and unadorned chimney rising along the
west side of the wing. Low, one-story wings on either side of the
stage-wing connect, via hallways, the stage to the principal section of
the gymnasium, and also contain hallways.
viewed from the facade.
One-story wing on the south elevation
that contains a bathroom and connects the stage with the principal
section of the gymnasium. Note that the Common Flemish Bond
brickwork is utilized on all of the exterior walls.
The interior of the Second Ward High School Gymnasium has retained a
high degree of integrity and is in good condition. Built in 1949,
the exposed steel framing and uninterrupted ribbons of windows that
flood the interior with light reflect the Modernist Style. But the
building's Modernist design stands in contrast to some of the
traditional building element found in the gymnasium.
tall wing that projects from the east elevation houses poured-in-place
concrete bleachers. Steel posts as seen above and below support
the weight of the roof. The posts are both freestanding (above),
encased in the masonry curtain walls (below). The exterior wall
behind the bleachers utilizes the steel-encased-in-masonry
steel in the exterior walls support simple, open steel trusses.
This design also allows for the, virtually uninterrupted ribbons of
windows high in the east and west walls.
above photo shows the an edge of the wooden roof deck that was originally
exposed from below. At some point most of the exposed wooden roof
decks were obscured with drop-panel ceilings. The roof decks were
constructed using tongue-and-groove lumber. If this building had
been built much later than 1949, it is likely that a more modern and
hi-tech deck material would have been used.
Set above the roof deck are the replacement
windows, filled with translucent panels.
The concrete bleachers
and steps were formed in place.
stage is concealed behind a recent wall. However, the outline of
the stage opening and the projecting raised stage floor are still
of projecting stage floor. The original hardwood gymnasium floor
features an unusual ventilated baseboard that allows the large expanse
of wooden floor to expand and breathe.
photograph of the stage ceiling may represent the original appearance of
the gymnasium's primary ceiling.
The wooden interior doors exhibit
construction typical for the first half of the twentieth century.
The double-doors that enter into the main gymnasium space exhibit a
minimal Modernist design, while the secondary doors feature a
traditional five-panel design.
solid concrete bleacher are supported by massive steel beams. The
space under the bleachers contains the locker and shower rooms.
This photograph demonstrates the masonry block construction of the
walls, which are veneered with brick on the exterior.