Haney Public School

Haney Public School, soon after its construction in 1909 and with children and teachers (presumed Matthews and Gordon) assembled. Plank sidewalk along what is now 225th Street is visible in the foreground.

The Haney Public School was officially opened on December 28, 1908. It was the first school to be located in the centre of the Haney townsite, with its property on Hinch Road (now 225th Street) roughly at the location of the current Leisure Centre. It contained two rooms for a school population of 59 in its first year of service, 1909. The first teachers were A. Matthews and Jessie Gordon. Prior to construction, students from Haney had to travel to the 1875 school at Laity and River Road or the 1888 school at Dewdney Trunk Road and the Lillooet Road (232nd Street).

An article in the British Columbian newspaper on July 14th, 1908 noted that Haney was “one of the most fertile and well settled districts in British Columbia… Although there are three schools in the Maple Ridge Municipality, the school population has grown so rapidly that another building has become an absolute necessity. The school children of the municipality now number between three and four hundred, an increase of more than fifty per cent over last year… Tenders are now being received for [the new school’s] construction. The Progressive Association even went to the extent of obtaining a suitable site in the town and handing it over to the trustees. The building will cost about three thousand dollars.”

 

Haney Central School

In March of 1923, municipal trustees decided to approve the plan to build a new three-room school on the existing property of the Haney Public School on Hinch Road (225th Street) – approximately where the western half of Haney Place Mall stands today.  Architects Benzie and Bow were contracted to draw up the plans and specifications, and construction was assigned to Mr. Dugald Brown.

The Haney Central School just after construction in 1923 with the older Haney Public School in the distance.

The school was built as money was available.  While the school was being built, students from the adjacent Haney Public School were asked to bring a plant from home to make a garden at the new school, which was completed by the end of the year.  Haney Central was expanded to six rooms in 1928 and eight rooms in 1947.  The school was the first in Maple Ridge to be constructed with a basement, indoor plumbing, and electricity.  The former Haney public building was used as an annex until it was torn down in 1956 for  lack of basic facilities.

The school had an annual display of the students’ work. In 1935, the Gazette reported that the school “was a revelation to many parents and visitors and reflected to a high degree the excellent instruction of principal Longton and his staff of teachers.”

Mr. Ed Longton, who was principal for over 30 years, would start off the day by ringing a small bell to signal the beginning of classes. Jean Sloan, a long time teacher at the school recalls that “Ed was a very good principal to work with, though he had a tendency to be very strict. I think deep down the students really appreciated it—at least we had very little problem with any of our kids.”

In February 1939 there was a report from the school given to and published by the Gazette. The report describes the variety of clubs and afterschool groups available to students. The paper reports that: “house meetings were held on last Friday and the business was carried on in the usual form. We hope to form two teams for basketball by combining A and B against C and D, both girls and boys… The dramatic club decided at their last meeting to put on two plays sometimes near Easter… The journalist and reporters club are working on the next school paper, to be produced sometime in February… The outdoor club went on another bicycle hike last Wednesday… From what we heard before Christmas, the students’ council had decided to hold a candy sale.”

The school was closed in 1973 and briefly hosted community college classes administered by Douglas College.  By 1980, the school had been padlocked as the school district and the municipality discussed its fate.  In November of 1980 the building was destroyed by arson.  The municipality negotiated the return of the site to private hands so that developers could assemble land for Haney Place Mall.