Building Description Oats Park Grammar School, Fallon Nevada

Located 18 miles east of the Lake Lahontan Dam and Recreational Area, the City of Fallon is known as the "Oasis of Nevada", and is recognized state-wide for its agricultural achievements. Selected as the Churchill County Seat in 1903, Fallon was incorporated in 1908, and the rural municipality has grown from a population of 350 in 1905 to a present-day population of 6,200.

Fallon developed commercially at the intersection of Williams and Maine Streets, (present-day Highways 50 and 95) and spread out residentially to the southeast and southwest of these crossroads. The Oats Park Addition, comprising a square area incorporating sixteen city blocks, is one of the prominent developments of the eastern section of Fallon. At the center of the addition is a ten-acre square which was deeded to the City of Fallon by owner John Oats for park usage in 1909. Today, Oats Park is the site of the city's baseball diamond, swimming pool, and picnic facilities, and serves as the city's primary recreational facility.

The Oats Park Grammar School is centered on a block on the eastern boundary of Oats Park, and faces the northeast corner of the Park. The immediate architectural neighborhood consists of the park (western boundary), one-story frame cottages and Churchill County School District storage facilities (northern and southern boundaries), and the E.C. Best Junior High School complex and grounds (eastern boundary). The school rises prominently above these open spaces and one-story structures.

The Oats Park Grammar School was designed in 1914 by prominent Nevada architect Frederick J. DeLongchamps, completed in 1915, and enlarged in 1921 following the DeLongchamps' 1920 proposals for addition. DeLongchamps' plans for both phases of the school building are available at the University of Nevada-Reno Special Collections.

The Oats Park Grammar School is a one-story, symmetrically-massed, regularly-fenestrated, hip-roofed brick building with full concrete basement. A projecting, pedimented pavilion is centered upon the facade, and raised concrete steps provide the main entrance to the school.

Six years after the original construction of the school, a pair of slightly projecting rectangular wings were constructed at the north and south ends. Each new wing provided two classrooms, and each room accommodated fifty students. As stated in the architect's prints and specifications for the addition, all of the new materials matched the original materials, and the school presents a symmetrical and consistent facade.

Fenestration on the entire building is regularly and consistently placed, and features rhythmic groups of nine light windows on the basement level, and six-over-six and nine-over-one double-hung-sash, and one-over-one double-hung sash, capped with six-light transoms on the four first story elevations. Since the school's closure, each window has been covered with wooden boards and secured from misuse. The majority of the windows are intact.

The original school entrance consisted of a formal composition of a recessed portal framed by squared, wooden pilasters and topped with fanlight and cast cement surrounding ornamentation. The entrance was recessed within the pavilion, and consisted of double doors with transom. Sometime after 1953, and possibly after a series of earthquakes in 1954, repairs were made to the "front of the building above the entrance", although it is unclear whether or not the original entrance arch was removed or enclosed during these repairs. The name "Oats Park School" is centered in the middle of this cream-colored, filled pediment. Only the pediment has been altered; the other entrance features are intact and in good condition.

Original Interior Plan: From the recessed double-leaf entrance, a series of stairs entered upon a corridor extending the length of the building. This hallway opened directly into the assembly room, four classrooms, and led to the principal's office and teacher's rooms. Each classroom had its own cloakroom, which was located behind the chalkboard and extended the entire width of the classroom. The basement floor, unfinished when the school opened in 1915, provided for the boys' lavatory and manual training classroom on the north end and for the girls' lavatory and domestic science classroom on the south end.

The majority of the building's original interior finishes and details survive intact and exhibit a high degree of integrity, and, as with the building's exterior, all of the 1921 interior additions match the materials of the 1914 interior. These features include simple window and door surrounds, storage cupboards, bookcases, cloak room doors and toilet partitions, picture moldings, blackboard railings, chalk rails, baseboards and wainscoting. Ceiling heights are approximately 10 feet on the basement, and 15 to 18 feet on the first floor. The floor area is approximately 12,435 square feet per floor, and the attic above the second floor is unfinished space. The interior finish is plaster, and the floors are maple.

The only notable interior change to the school was made sometime after the 1946 construction of the one-story gymnasium. With the availability of the Gymnasium's auditorium space, the school building's first-floor Assembly Room was divided into three spaces. New walls and entranceways were positioned to create one large classroom, highlighted by the bank of windows at the east end of the original Assembly Room. In addition, the boys' and girls' lavatories, originally placed in the basement, were relocated to the first floor, occupying the remaining corners of the former Assembly room. A hallway between the lavatories entered into the new classroom space.