Irving School

The Irving School stands in the Town Center area of Mesa at 155 North Center Street. It was built in the same location that the old North School stood for 37 years. It was named after the American writer Washington Irving.

Designed by architect L.S. Alexander from the Lescher and Mahoney architectural firm, it stands as a significant sign of “the growth in education philosophy and the design of educational institutions in Mesa.” It is designed in the Federal Moderne style combined with the Ranch style layout and a low-sloped roof. This design was created to take advantage of Arizona’s mild climate and fresh air. This break from the traditional multistory school design provided the classrooms with more natural light and ventilation and created a comfortable environment for elementary age school children. This new trend in educational design bridged the gap between the traditional multistory block construction and the later detached single level campus style layout.

Forty five percent of the total cost for the school ($42,544) was paid for by a grant from the New Deal’s Public Works Administration. The remaining $57,000 was paid for by bonds after being approved in a bond election. The Williams Peper Construction Company were the builders.

The City of Mesa purchased the school in 1975 when the school district decided to open a new Irving School in a different location. The building later became known as the Mesa Arts Center with a newlyu renovated auditorium for the Mesa Children’s Theater.
The Irving School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in on November 8, 2000.

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