The Architectural Atrocity of my Childhood: Lane Intermediate
I attended Lane Intermediate school in West Allis from 2014 to 2017. The experience was similar or close to, I’m assuming, a typical one. Just like any other middle school, kids were lost either mentally or literally, including myself, as far as I don’t remember. I do not recall it all; many memories and moments have been blurred to my discretion. But, I do recall a generalization of my years there, and the defining characteristics that make me miss the school. Sometimes.
We first lead up to my years there with a historical overview, as I, along with the rest of the class of 2021 who were there with me, are part of its history.
Lane School, as named back then, was built.
Well, not all of it.
The middle section, the heart of the entire present building, was the first part of the school to exist. It served as an elementary school to the future silent generation.
As demonstrated by the green line, Madison Street used to run across the property, connecting both sides of the school.
The origins of Lane came out of necessity, as West Allis was incorporated as a city 15 years prior in 1906. The property was built on the edge of the Milwaukee area almost a century ago. It served young children of West Allis, as well as surrounding townships. One hundred years later, the school is now in the midst of the urban municipality. The school was built with future expansion in mind, as in future neighborhoods; the school itself, not so much.
The origin of the name ‘Lane’ is largely unknown, although I’m sure someone at the west Allis historical district could tell me otherwise. Perhaps it is due to the highway it stands next to; Then United States highway 45, now Wisconsin 100, was originally named Lovers Lane Road. The road still holds this namesake in both Franklin and Milwaukee.
The very original building is not encapsulated in the photo, as additions came in 1936, 1942, 1949 and 1951.
Lane school served portions of the towns of Wauwatosa and Greenfield until the land was annexed to the city of west Allis in 1954.
Lane school was given a new, large southern-end addition, and the former then-northern section was entirely remodeled.
As the old building was merely classrooms and a surface lot(as far as I know), the addition gave the school a cafeteria, a gym, an auditorium, and numerous rooms.
My dad attended Lane school, as Lane now became a middle school from the previous addition.
The building closed, as demand was low for public school students of the age range. Middle schoolers of the 80’s already had multiple options, such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Lincoln. The building was then sold and became Heritage Christian School, a sort-of religious cult private school... thing.
The north end of the school was now 85 years old, and Heritage Christian demanded restitution. They got it in the form of a new addition.
The school was now in its present form, with a resurfaced parking lot, new playground to the far north, and a pizza parlor stuck in the middle of it all. The new addition was made out of fire resistant materials such as anything not wooden.
The northern end supplied 2 new offices, more classrooms, a brand new gym, and fake windows(more on that later).
The West Allis-West Milwaukee School District announced that they had purchased the building back from defunct Heritage Christian, and was converting it back to a middle school. It was announced that future 6th graders in the class of 2021 would be the first class to return, with the classes of 2022 and 23 following soon after in 2015 and 2016 to refill all three years.
The patriots were picked to be the new mascot for the school, simply to fuel preteen’s angst against the Packers.
In short, I was in the first class to return to Lane after it’s reopening, and I think that’s pretty interesting.
2020, present day
Lane serves as a middle school in the WAWM school district online, and will return to physical services when the COVID-19 outbreak terminates.
Lane’s history isn’t very interesting among the most interesting things on earth, yet it is most likely more interesting than any other school’s history.
For example, Nathan Hale High school was built in 1965, 55 years later, same thing. What a fantastic lesson.
It was fascinating to attend this school, due to the people, the classes, the environment. But, most of all, the fascination of mine lies in the building’s obscene, unusual architecture.
Walking through the building is like a travel through time. Nearly 100 years of adaptation in architecture can be seen and contrasted quite literally simultaneously, as one can stand in both the old and new additions at the same time.
The newest addition gives cold, uninviting feelings, as the lockers are shades of masonry red, and the walls are lined with brown molding and tan cement bricks. A few classrooms have no windows, as they are pressed against the hallway and walls of the new gymnasium.
All 3 phases and styles can be seen from the view along Wisconsin 100.
The new addition consists of typical school amenities, and is pretty cohesive in its layout and design.
Walking down the second floor hallway, one is led into the oldest part of the building, as the walls are wood,the floor is dark, the windows are dirty. Some rooms aren’t even serviceable, as they are still being remodeled to this day. This section of the building is the most inviting, in my opinion, as the section evokes warm, vivid feelings and perhaps even nostalgia, justified by the stained ceiling tiles, the wooden floors and chalkboards, the aged wooden window trims and molding. Or maybe it’s warm just because this section isn’t air-conditioned.
For the middle-aged section of the building, the southern portion, one must head downstairs, as it is purely one story.
Where Madison street once traveled was now a yellow hallway, with shades of white and blue sprinkled in. It is somewhat clear what the intentions were for this part, as it is bright, yet it appears aged. Light is seen at each end, as glass doors mark the eastern and western ends of the school.
The cafeteria is bright and spacious and full of windows; it is the best designed part of the school in my opinion.
The gym and auditorium show their age extremely well. Although recently revitalized, the carpeted, textured walls are straight out of the fault of the 60’s, as well as the exterior tiling that adorns the southern exterior wall in blue, chipping off bit by bit.
Towards the southern ends of the school are abandoned rooms and service areas and amenities, sections that no students shall enter. Ever (again, that is).
The yellow hallway swings right and heads south towards the very depths of the school, reaching towards the music rooms and 2 doors that no one knows what holds.
Well that’s really boring. It sounds like a school. It’s boring