HistorySeptember 20, 2023
Welcome to the History of École Robert H. Smith School
Prepared September, 1992 - Updated 2010
In 1982, Principal Dale Scott informed the students and staff that the school was unsafe and they would be attending nearby schools. The school was closed indefinitely due to a cracking foundation and fears of a natural gas explosion. The teachers and students of Robert H. Smith were relocated in the neighbouring schools; Queenston, Grosvenor, Carpathia and Rockwood Schools; they retained their identity as Robert H. Smith School, confident of their eventual return to Kingsway and Oak. Estimated costs for the underpinning and refurbishing of the school were $600,000. The school board considered closing the school, but the community rallied behind parent leaders to press for their school’s re-opening.
And reopen it did in 1983 as École Robert H. Smith School, when after major structural improvements, Robert. H. became dual-track, English- French with K-6 English and K-2 French immersion. Mr. Jack Offman was the new principal. The school has continued to develop. In 1984 a nursery class opened for four year olds. In addition, the french immersion track has grown to include K-6. This was made possible with the addition of five portable classrooms. However, due to additional structural difficulties and lack of space, it became necessary to construct a new school. In April 1992, on the 73rd anniversary of Robert H. Smith, a farewell heritage tea and fashion show was held. Nearly 700 people attended the tea and toured the memorabilia rooms which were organized to reflect each era at the school.
In 1991, a new school was begun on the playground of the old school. The new entrance was to be located on Oak Street rather than on Kingsway, thus necessitating the change in address to 315 Oak Street. The school was built by Central Canadian Structures Ltd. The architectural company was IKOY Partnership. During the summer of 1992, the furniture from the old building was moved into the new one. The official opening was on October 22, 1992.
Robert H. Smith
Smith was secretary of the Winnipeg Teachers’ Retirement Fund; he was Business Manager of the Western School Journal, and Vice-President of the Winnipeg School Masters’ Club. He was a charter member of the Canadian Club and Honorary Treasurer from 1906 to 1909; and Honorary Secretary from 1910 to 1916. Smith was also interested in sports. He was father of the Boys’ Lacrosse League in the public schools. At the time of Mr. Smith’s very sudden death in August, 1926, the school Board placed on record this tribute to their very capable Secretary-Treasurer: “The Board recorded the sense of great loss sustained in the death of the late Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. Robert H. Smith - a loss falling not merely upon the school which he served with efficiency and loyalty, but also upon the community at large, in which he played the part of a public-spirited and unselfish citizen.”
On a personal note, Mr. A.E. Bowles, acting Chairman of the Board, had this to say: “The School Board Office will not seem the same. His long period of faithful service, his assistance to the members of the board, his unfailing courtesy, his thoroughness and unquestionable integrity made him not only an efficient official, but a friend to whom all could turn for assistance. I venture to say Mr. Smith could count as his friend every person in any way connected with the schools of Winnipeg. I do not believe many citizens can fully realize his efficiency and the loss Winnipeg has sustained. I regret his passing more than I can say.”
- Opened: September 1920
- Name: River Heights School
- Address: 500 Kingsway
- Contractor: Sutherland Construction Co.
- Cost: $56,996
- No. of rooms: 8
- Contractor: R. Sigurdson
- Cost: $118,931
- No. of rooms: 13
- Name: Robert H. Smith School
- Demolished: Summer, 1992
- Opened: September, 1992
- Official opening: October 22, 1992
- Address: 315 Oak Street
- Cost: $3,260,293
- Funding: Public Schools Finance Board
- Architect: Ikoy Partnership
- Contractor: Central Canadian Structures Ltd.
- No. of Rooms: fifteen regular classroom spaces including six classrooms that can be relocated, built in conjunction with the original building, grooming room, library, gymnasium, two kindergarten rooms, nursery room, multipurpose room, science lab, computer lab, administrative space, storage and ancillary spaces