Westside School Restoration Signals Revitalization Of The Neighborhood


Photo by: s.savanapridi/Flickr/City of Las Vegas PIO office

The Westside School sits in the shadow of the I-15, among a plethora of black churches, residences and industrial areas. When the school was built in 1923, none of that existed.

The original school was built for Paiute school children, whose reservation is just a few blocks away.

Then it became predominantly African American during Las Vegas’ segregation days in the mid-20th Century.

When that changed in the late 1960s, the school turned into a radio station, and a pre-school.

And that’s where Ricki Barlow comes in. Barlow is a Las Vegas City Councilman. He attended a Head Start program at the Historic West Side School.

Barlow led the process of a recent, $12.5 million restoration of the two school buildings on the property, which is listed on the Las Vegas Historic Property Register and the state and National Register of Historic Places.

"What makes this school so special is, Las Vegas is known for the city of implosion," he said, "And having an opportunity to really understand the true value of historic preservation is very significant."

Barlow said the school has a rich history. It is known as Grammar School 1 and was the first elementary school in the city. 

"It is still to this day the oldest standing elementary school, to my knowledge because no one has been able to tell me otherwise, in the state of Nevada today," he said.

Support comes from

Barlow has been working on the restoration project for more than four years. The seed money for the project came from the Las Vegas Centennial Commission. With that money in hand, Barlow raised the rest of the money needed to fix up the buildings.

Barlow said newly revitalized buildings will continue to house the KCEP Power 88.1 radio station, but there is now room for more tenets.

"The entire campus will have a mix use of retail as well as office use on the campus today," he said. 


photos by s.savanapridi/flickr/City of Las Vegas PIO 


Ricki Barlow, councilman, City of Las Vegas  

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