Our Learning Story
History of Rutland Elementary School
The original four-classroom brick school was planned in 1912, and built a year later, to replace a one room schoolhouse built in 1908, as well as the small school that had operated in the Black Mountain area from 1896. The sudden growth of population in Rutland followed the subdivision of irrigated agricultural land on the Rutland flats and bench by the Central Okanagan Lands Company.
Built to Department of Public Works specifications at a cost of $21,000 by subcontractors Ward and Baldock, under the supervision of H.W. Raymer (builder and first mayor of Kelowna, who seems to have had a hand in nearly all major local projects for many years), it was intended to function as a community centre as well as school. Set on five acres of playground, the school had four classrooms and two basement playrooms for bad weather. The plan is symmetrical, with a recessed central entrance and hall and a classroom at each corner. The formal design concept and the loose allusions to a classical vocabulary owe their concept to Beaux-Arts planning principles and the Neoclassical Revival style. Two of the classrooms were separated by a wooden shutter, which could be rolled up to the ceiling to make a large hall for assemblies, public meetings, dances, and other community gatherings. Being rural, electric lighting and indoor plumbing were not installed until 1938.
The school opened in September 1913, with two classrooms in use. It was officially opened by Price Ellison, MLA for Okanagan and Minister of Agriculture and Finance, on 12 January 1914, the day after he opened the new Central School at 1825 Richter Street in Kelowna. The substantial building bespoke the confidence of the time.
Ellison predicted that the building would be sufficient for Rutland's school needs for the next twenty-five years. In fact, continued population growth in Rutland made the building inadequate long before that time. By 1929 the two basement playrooms had been converted to classrooms, and in 1931 an adjacent four-classroom wood-frame building had to be built, with four more rooms added to that in 1938. Part of the crowding came from the expansion of grades. Until 1922, this was only an elementary school, and high school students had to travel into Kelowna, but in that year it was expanded to all grades (with 13 high school and 113 elementary students). This situation lasted until 1949, when Rutland High School opened across Rutland Road.
This school, with addition of an activity room in 1964, continued to serve elementary students until September 2003, when it was closed and pupils moved to a brand-new Rutland Elementary School building, after large commemorative gatherings of former pupils.
Source: City of Kelowna, Planning Department, File No. 6800-02
Rutland Elementary School Today
In September 2003, a new Rutland Elementary School was opened. It is located in the Rutland area of Kelowna. This new facility is within 0.5 km of the original elementary school, Rutland Middle School and Rutland Senior Secondary School. The school is also in close proximity to the YM/YMCA Athan's Pool Complex, Okanagan Gymnastics Centre and the Rutland Arena. All Rutland Elementary students walk, ride their bikes, rollerblade or are driven to school. Some of our students are fourth generation attendees.
An integral component of our school since 1997 is the Rutland Elementary Community School Society. Rutland Community School operates a before and after school care, as well as services on non-instructional days, and summer holidays. The Community School also organizes sports leagues, movie nights, family craft nights, adult training courses, dances, and babysitting courses. In addition, the programs provide a number of opportunities for parents and youth to volunteer and build their skills.