Building Description Herrick Public School, Herrick South Dakota

The Herrick Public School in the Town of Herrick, Gregory County, South Dakota is an excellent example of standardized school design in South Dakota during the late 1910s. Established by the South Dakota Department of Public Instruction's standardized guidelines adopted in 1907 and the South Dakota Financial Incentive Program of 1919, South Dakota's standards for school design and construction influenced such features as classroom doors, egresses, window to floor area formulae, artificial lighting, windows, chimneys, and ventilation. Constructed in 1919, the Herrick Public School incorporated the standardized designs and facilities recommended for schools of the time. Its construction consequently reveals much about the evolution of standardized school design in South Dakota during the early twentieth century.

Typical of standardized schools built in the late 1910s and early 1920s, the Herrick Public School is a two-story, square building with a basement and symmetrical plan arranged around a central hall and staircase. It has a flat roof with a surrounding brick parapet wall, red brick veneer in a common bond pattern on the exterior walls, cast stone detailing, and a poured concrete foundation. The fenestration consists of original, one-over-one, double-hung, wood sash windows. Many of the windows have extant exterior wood-framed screens, while those on the second story of the south elevation have aluminum storm windows. All of the windows have wood frames and cast stone sills. Band courses of cast stone extend the circumference of the building below the first story and above the second. The building's corners feature three-tiered pilasters with ornamental brickwork and cast stone detailing that extend above the roof parapet. An eight-sided, cast stone cone caps the top of each pilaster. Below the first-story band course of cast stone the building's brick veneer has a banded pattern. Most the windows at this level are also enclosed.

The school exhibits a variation of the Romanesque style. This style alluded to the stability and venerability of European educational institutions. The school building stands on a parcel of land in the town of Herrick, South Dakota, with an east/west orientation. It is currently vacant. A city street bounds the school on the east, and fields bound the other sides of the property. No longer extant, a football field once existed east of the school.

The Herrick Public School's east (front) facade features a central three-story section containing the main entrance. The first two stories of this section project from the rest of the building with a flat roof, decorative brick parapet, and cast stone cap. A rounded cast stone arch, flanked by brick pilasters with cast stone detailing on the corners, characterizes the main entrance. The entrance contains a set of three-light, double wood doors with a ten-light, semi-circular transom window and twelve-light sidelights. Above the entrance, the words "PUBLIC SCHOOL" appear in relief in an ornate script. Both of the central section's upper two stories contain sets of three one-over-one, double-hung, wood sash windows in a palladian-like configuration. An extended parapet with decorative brickwork and two cone-topped pilasters top the central section. The main entrance is flanked on either side by sections of wall with a decorative brick veneer featuring large rectangles and cross patterns. Cast stone blocks are placed as added highlights.

The school building's north and south elevations are similar in design and configuration. Each contains two banks of classroom windows on each of the first and second stories, centrally divided by decorative brickwork and a small, extended parapet. Each bank contains six windows, providing each interior space with windows on only one wall. Single windows are regularly spaced along the building's basement level as well.

The Herrick Public School's west elevation is symmetrically divided with three bays of windows on each story. The central bay contains sets of two windows, while the outer bays contain space for sets of three windows each. The window openings in the outer bays of the first story and the northern bay of the second story are enclosed with brick. A brick outline demarcates the space of the three enclosed sections. An original condition, this configuration of window openings assured that classrooms were illuminated by only one wall of windows on the first floor. The school auditorium and stage occupy the second story of this elevation. An original fire escape tunnel extends from below a second floor window, running diagonally across the elevation, and a non-original door opening for an emergency exit was added to the basement gymnasium. An exterior door opening was also cut into one of the central first-story windows, leading to the superintendent's office.

The interior of the Herrick Public School is typical of the standardized school designs from the same period. The school's square plan is oriented around a central staircase and hall with three levels, including a basement. The basement level contains a gymnasium, a ticket booth, boy's and girl's restrooms, a furnace room, and storage rooms. The building's ground level has four classrooms, two on either side of the central hall, and a superintendent's office at the hall's west end. The second level, likewise, contains three classrooms, an auditorium, stage, and a restroom added over the front staircase. Grades 1-8 held classes on the ground level, and the high school classes met on the second level.

Much of the school's interior remains intact with only a few alterations. Each classroom contains original plaster walls, picture rails, baseboards, wood floor, wood cloak closets with vertical sliding doors, and wood storage closets. Original wood cloak closets flank the main hallway on the second level before entering the auditorium, and the auditorium stage contains its original proscenium arch. The building's original knob and tube wiring remains, and the extant furnace supplied steam heat through a standard radiator system, in addition to a series of wall chases and vents that provided ventilation throughout the building. The building's original lathe and plaster ceilings were removed on all levels except the basement, and many of the school's original blackboards are missing. On the third floor, a set of enclosing doors have been added to the main staircase, likely an original set of doors from the auditorium stage, and a wall partition was added to the level's southeast classroom. In addition, a kitchen was installed in the northeast classroom on the ground floor in 1959. The hook-ups for the kitchen equipment remain.