The Third West Side School House 1940-Present


    In 1938 Mr. William B. Nichols headed a Citizens Committee to plan for a new three-room wooden school house.  The cost of the new building was not to exceed $40,000. It was to be located between Laurel Hollow Road and Stewart Lane.


    Five acres on the top of Jones' Hill was originally purchased from the Carnegie Institute in Washington (aka Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory). At the April 27, 1940 board meeting, $4,050 was allocated to purchase the school property at 1597 Laurel Hollow Road. William R. Huntington was the architect who added window boxes to the exterior at the request of Mrs. Eva Risley Clark.


    On January 6, 1941 classes consisting of kindergarten through eighth grade moved into this new building.


    In 1958 the three independent districts, West Side #11, East Side #8, and Lloyd Harbor #2, became one district called Cold Spring Harbor School District #2, and a junior/senior high school was planned. In January 1962 the new Cold Spring Harbor High School  opened. Prior to the high school opening the graduates from West Side went to high school at Oyster Bay High School or Huntington High School.


    The West Side Arboretum began in 1959. Specific plantings of trees were recommended by Mrs. Demerec, Mr. Ted Hilton-principal, and the Parent Teacher Group for their future beauty.


    Renovations to West Side School:

    1951: the first addition to the building included three classrooms (third grade classes in 2008), the gym, stage, and a glass hall.

    1952: An additional purchase from Carnegie Institute in Washington of 7.38 acres was made. The school now was located on 12.38 acres.

    1954: Three more classrooms (fourth grade classes in 2008), a cafeteria, and a library (computer room in 2008) were built.

    1959: Three more classrooms (second grade classes in 2008), a music room, a nurse’s room, a main entrance lobby (the airplane wing in 2008), teachers’ lounge, main office, principal’s office were added to the first floor of the school. Two more classrooms and the art room were added to the lower level of the building.

    1998: Two more classrooms were added (sixth grade classrooms in 2008), and three small workrooms were added to the glass hallway.

    2002: Two classrooms (fifth grade classrooms in 2008) were added, a music room, and a science room were added to the lower level of the building.


    Teaching at West Side in the 1940’s was family like and personal. Community participation was always part of the school and use of the school facility was encouraged.


    The first kindergarten teacher, Helen Boelson O'Hara, was hired in 1941.


    The art department started as a part-time effort in 1942 with Mrs. Jane deTomasi.  The students created metal crafts and decorated the showcases and halls.


    The science program was established by Mrs. Mary Demerec and became a full time position in the current West Side School.


    In 1952 at the annual meeting the school purchased a bus to transport the children to school. The custodians were the first bus drivers. Howie Miller was classified as the cleaner and bus driver.  In the 1970’s, the buses were contracted to an outside company.


    In the 1954-1955 school year, the West Side Neighbors became the Mothers Group. They served and prepared the first school lunches. In 1954 the Mothers Group became the West Side School Parent Teacher Group and by-laws were prepared and adopted.


    The yearly dinner at West Side started out as a teacher appreciation dinner prepared by the sixth graders and their parents and was held in the gym. Some years a skit was performed by the parents. This was the beginning of our annual dinner dance fundraiser.


    Field day started in the 1950’s and is still an entire day celebrated in June.


    In 1957, the first librarian, Mrs. Lavonne Tripp, was hired.


    The 1970’s showed such a decline in student population that it seemed almost certain that West Side would close or be used as a kindergarten through second grade school.  If West Side closed then all the students would have filled up the East Side School building, and the East Side students would have to attend Lloyd Harbor School even if they lived near the school. After much discussion it was voted that the school in the center of the district, East Side School, would close in 1978 and be used as District Office.


    Since the “birthday” for West Side School was April 23rd, and Earth day was designated April 22nd, the two events were combined and celebrated as Earth Day/Birthday. In its early years it was celebrated by a spring clean up of the grounds, planting of a tree, and a balloon launch. The West Side Song, written by the music teacher Mrs. Patricia DiRisio, is traditionally sung by the students. Fall planting day became another yearly event where teachers, parents, and children came to school and worked on the school grounds.


    The 33rd annual sixth grade trip to Frost Valley, an environmental education site in the Catskill Mountains, took place in May 2005. Students spent several days studying many aspects of the environment with educators. In the 2006-2007 school year, the trip was cancelled.


    The school celebrated its Bicentennial in 1990 with a year long celebration. A video, A School in Time and Place, was made, assemblies were held, an historical quilt was created, a time capsule was buried, and the “blue book,” Bungtown School …The First Two Hundred Years, The History of West Side School, was written. On a bright Saturday, a party was held at school, and George Washington (Mr. Ted Hilton) appeared on horseback to the delight of more than 500 people.


     West Side School Song:

    The West Side School Song was written by the music teacher for the school’s bicentennial in 1990. It is often sung by the students at assemblies.

    We are the family of West Side School on the Cold Spring Harbor shore.
    Our halls are filled with memories of the ones who came before.
    We started off with teddy bears and rides on papa's knee, and West side School you
       helped me know the child side of me.
    A lullaby to innocence, a song our hearts will tell.
    Reflections on the friends we've had and grown to know so well.
    The memories inside of us will never fade away, as we sing our thanks to West Side School
       and the pride we share today.