Sunset School History
Sunset School was determined to be too small upon its opening in January, 1954. Enrollment figures increased so rapidly that the activity room had to be used for a third grade classroom, a cottage was moved to the site to house fourth graders and kindergarten was moved to a rented house. Previous to the opening, some classes of second, third, fourth and fifth grade students had been bused to Washington Building, attending double sessions from 8:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Zemke, Oral interview, 1991). In the west part of Salina at 1510 W. Republic, Sunset was built at a cost of $189,380 ([Salina School Buildings and Additions Since 1950], p. 11).
Overcrowding remained a problem for Sunset and resulted in first graders attending school in split sessions in portable cottages on the corner of Sunset. Kindergarten was held in a house at 1332 W. Republic, one-half block away, in three two-hour sessions (Zemke, 1991). Sunset’s first addition of six classrooms was completed in 1954 for a total cost of $77,215. A second addition of eight classrooms and a kindergarten was built in 1956 at a cost of $180,005, using $150,000 federal aid. Six additional classrooms, a kindergarten, lounge and speech room were completed in February, 1960, at a cost of $148,442 ([Salina School Buildings and Additions Since 1950], p. 11).
Mobility was a continuing problem for the schools due to children of Air Force families. August Zemke, Sunset’s first principal, recalled only two children from Sunset’s first graduating class had attended from kindergarten through sixth grade (Oral Interview, 1991).