Historic Building Brought Forth A Thriving Organization
Dr. James MacConnell, a former Superintendent of Beaverton Schools, is considered the father of educational facility planning. When he introduced a new concept in U.S. education: consolidation of small rural schools into one central hub, his vision of an innovative school was built in Beaverton in 1935 and served this area for well over 60 years.
In 2015, MacConnell’s vision was rejuvenated when the building he designed transitioned into Beaverton Activity Center in a grand opening celebrated by over 1,000 people. A year later, our city nominated BAC for the Michigan Municipal League’s Community Excellence Award in the category “Strength in Structure.” Against formidable competition from much bigger cities, our success story earned the league members’ votes to win the coveted cup!
Now 87 years old, there’s new strength in this old structure because it’s so much more than a building now – it’s an organization focused on the future.
Only Four Votes Against Beaverton School Bond Issue. Vote Assures New School.
In an overwhelming vote of confidence in its school board and superintendent, electors of the Beaverton school district yesterday carried the proposed $36,000 bond issue for a new school building by a vote of 130 to 4.
Following the tabulation of votes last night school officials issued a statement thanking the Beaverton district electors for the expression of confidence indicated by the balloting. “While it is yet impossible to determine just when work on the new building will begin,” said Superintendent James MacConnell, “it may be within the next 60 days.” The $36,000 bond issue will represent Beaverton’s 55 per cent of the $65,000 called for in the plans for the new school building. The government PWA contribution totals $29,454.
Prior to the election, Board members pointed out that the new building is an absolute necessity and that the school district was actually making a saving of $30,000 if it accepted the government grant. At the present time classes are being held in five different buildings, four of them being temporary structures.
Plans for the new school building have been drawn by Warren S. Holmes, Lansing architect, who has worked in conjunction with the board in securing the PWA grant.
JAMES MACCONNELL, Superintendent of the Beaverton Rural Agricultural high school, begins his eighth year as head of that institution August 31, when school opens. Mr. MacConnell has been instrumental in making this one of the outstanding Smith-Hughes schools in the state. His Future Farmers’ organization has repeatedly carried away state honors. College officials in Smith-Hughes work say: “Jim is our No. 1 man.”
Gladwin County Record 8/12/1936
The Beaverton Activity Center building was the first School Building that James D.MacConnell designed.Dr. MacConnell is considered The Father of educational facility planning and was instrumental in nurturing this profession from its infancy to its significant stature in education today. Dr. MacConnell is best remembered as the director of Stanford University’s School Planning Laboratory, which he founded in 1951. The laboratory was the first center of applied and fundamental research on integrating school construction with child development, curriculum, and instructional methods. The internationally renowned educator was CEFPI’s 1979 Planner of the Year and received the Distinguished Service Award in Educational Administration from the American Association of School Administrators in 1981.