Barrett Elementary School

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Barrett Elementary School
Barrett School.jpg
BCS small logo.png Birmingham City Schools
Years 1901present
Location 7601 Division Avenue, (map)
East Lake
Grades K-5
Principal Tarja Lawson
Enrollment 408 (2017)
Colors green & white
Mascot Wildcats

Nathaniel A. Barrett Elementary School is an elementary school in the Birmingham City Schools system that feeds into L. Frazier Banks Middle School. The school is located at 7601 Division Avenue in the East Lake neighborhood of the East Lake community. The interim principal is Tikki Hines.

Barett was originally called East Lake Graded School when it opened in 1901, taking the place of the former East Lake School at Hunt's Hall, which was made a public school in 1899, but was damaged in the College Station fire. The new 10-room East Lake School was designed by J. B. Carr & Co. architects and built by W. F. May & Co. contractors. The $17,000 cost of construction was raised through bonds issued by the City of East Lake.

The school was renamed in honor of then-East Lake mayor and East Lake Board of Education chair Nathaniel A. Barrett in 1909 to distinguish it from the newly-completed Robinson School. A year later East Lake was merged into the city of Birmingham as part of the "Greater Birmingham" campaign and the Barrett School was taken into the Bimingham City Schools system. Barrett later served as President of the Birmingham City Commission.

By 1923 the school was serving 810 students. The Birmingham Board of Education's Survey of Birmingham Schools published that year found that "The Barrett building is a fire hazard. It is also insanitary, over-crowded, poorly-lighted and ventilated. The toilets are dark and insanitary. The stairs are inflammable and the dry floor joists are exposed over the furnace." The survey also found insufficient space for outdoor playgrounds and recommended that the building be replaced.

Instead of being torn down, Barrett school was expanded with new wings in 1925 and 1928, containing thirteen more classrooms, a music room and office. A lunchroom was added later. In 1955 a report on the potentially unsafe conditions of the building led some parents, led by Quinton Killingsworth, to plan to withdraw their children until the building was replaced. The original portion of the school was subsequently demolished, and a new replacement wing was erected alongside the 1928 wing for the 1956 school year. The new building added 17 classrooms and a library. Students were moved to temporary classrooms at 77th Street Church of Christ, 76th Street Presbyterian Church, Ruhama Baptist Church, East Lake Methodist Church, and East Lake Library during construction.

A two-story east wing was added to the school in 1961. That project was designed by Lawrence Whitten and constructed by F. R. Hoar & Sons.

In 1978 the school was fully refurbished with new windows, carpets, ceilings, lighting and air conditioning.

In 1989 the school, which had served kindergarten through 8th grade students was reconfigured into an elementary school serving K-5. The school was fully renovated in 2000, and a new east wing was completed in 2002. Based on test scores from 2017, Barrett was deemed a "failing school" under the terms of the Alabama Accountability Act, permitting parents to claim tax credits to transfer students to another school.

School colors are green and white, and the nickname is "Barrett Wildcats".