Council Bluffs Community Wide Open House
November 2009
On November 17, 2009, Council Bluffs held a community wide open house celebrating 150 years of Council Bluffs schools. The open house featured school history displays, building tours, demonstrations of students work, refreshments and the chance to see former teachers and classmates. The theme for the sesquicentennial was "Celebrating the past, inspiring the future."

Hoover grade school alumni, Dr. Dick Warner, along with his brother Dr. Bob Warner, and their dad, Robert Warner, attended the Hoover open house. Dick offers some of his comments and observations along with some great pictures below.

Click each image for a larger view
The balcony has been walled off and is now a classroom. Note the tables that fold down from the wall; since the cafeteria is gone we assume they use this as the lunch room. We did too (hot lunch at the tables in the cafeteria, sack lunch in the gym) but of course in our day were rugged enough to sit on the floor <g>.
The locker rooms (far wall) which I don't ever recall being in when at Hoover are now storage rooms. The door to the cafeteria is gone (as is the cafeteria).
Backstage there is a movable wall (left side of picture), allowing the stage to be used as a band classroom, but still allowing it to be a stage if needed. There was a dressing room back stage that has been converted into an office.
The old "main entrance" in the middle of the building next to the former principal's office has been walled over.  The new main entrance are the doors near the gym.  As best Bob and I can recall if one would have entered through these doors in our day they would have seen a wall in front of them, which was the wall of the cafeteria.  One could walk to the left to the gym or to the right to get to a hallway which would take one to the cafeteria.  The wall is gone, and there is this open area (the former cafeteria), which in the photo has a row of tables with old Hoover memorabilia.  I don't know what such a large open area is normally used for.
To the right is the new principal's office (in the photo this is right behind Dad, the old guy in the red coat looking away from the camera).
First floor hallway, from the gym toward the kindergarten room.  About half as long as I remember it and not nearly so wide :) Note the modern ceiling and lighting, though I can't say I recall what the old looked like.  At the right of the picture are new rooms; in our day these would have been (not necessarily in order) a teacher's lounge, room that was a music room and first floor library, nurses office, principal's office, and main entryway.
This photo shows a door to a room. These look original to me (except perhaps the knob), as does the tile on the wall.
Lots of differences. The ceiling has been lowered considerably, but the same old fluorescent fixtures are there and still regular start... I wonder where one can buy starters these days! Note the old coat closet in the back of the room is gone (aha, that's why there are lockers in the hallway now). That area appears to be a storage closet now.  Note these two rooms are connected together. Everything seems so cluttered... looks like there is stuff everywhere. Sorry about getting Brother Bob's head in the photo.
The old bulletin boards are still there; the chalkboards are there but covered over.  
The old part of the building (there is a new addition on the back) is still steam heat with radiators. This must have been one of the last steam heat buildings built... I thought that would have been out by 1950. There is a window air conditioner, but the teacher says this is a mixed blessing. It's very loud and makes it hard for the kids to hear.
The round windows are still there, but lots of changes.  There was an entrance from the outside that has since been walled over, a cloak room (now gone), and a couple of small bathrooms, also now gone. Also, those dropped ceilings really make things look smaller. I suppose it was done for energy efficiency? Easier to heat, perhaps?  
The ceilings in all rooms are 2-3 feet lower, and one of my main memories of the kindergarden room were those tall windows. This room is now preschool; kindergarten is in the new addition off the back.
In our day on each floor the boys restrooms were at the end of the hall toward the gym, girls at the opposite end of the hall, towards Mt. Loretto. They were U-shaped; one walked in one door and out the other; today they have been cut in half, one side girls the other boys (thus there are both girls and boys restrooms at both ends of the hall).
This is the far end of what was the balcony that is now a classroom.  If the wall to the left of the picture was opened up one would be looking into the gym.
The picture is taking facing Broadway; in our day I would have been standing halfway into the balcony probably along the top row of bleachers to take this. The room at the far end of the picture (with the window air conditioner) would have been the library in our time. There was of course a wall between the balcony and the library; probably an extension of the wall the remains today with the door to the stairway.
Closeup of a railing and short set of steps leading to a door. Per Bob's and my recollection in our day as one walked down these steps the gym would have been in front of you and the balcony bleachers would have been to your right. The door was right where it is now, and might very well be the same door. The door leads to a narrow stairway (see last picture).  
The stairs come out on the first floor right outside the door to the gym.

The old library is totally changed.  As the student librarian I remember this well.  Remember there was a small library office on the south side and a built in science demonstration table with a sink and bunsen burner gas jet.  I don't ever recall this being used; I assume it too was a legacy of the days in which there were 7th and 8th graders here and they had more sophisticated science classes.

The library today is in the new addition, which is just across the hall from the old library.  The new library is named, incidentally, the Christine Jasper Memorial Library.