Princeton Elementary School

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Princeton Alternative Elementary School
BCS small logo.png Birmingham City Schools
Years 1910present
Location 1425 2nd Avenue West, (map)
Rising-West Princeton
Grades Pre-K - 5
Principal Cynthia Ward
Enrollment 229 (2010)
Colors red & black
Mascot Panthers

Princeton Alternative Elementary School is a public elementary school in the Birmingham City Schools system located at 1425 2nd Avenue West in the Rising-West Princeton neighborhood of West End.

The school traces its origin to an in-home kindergarten founded by Olivia Pyos in 1910 for four African American children. The program was quickly absorbed into the city's school system. In its 1923 survey of school conditions, the U.S. Bureau of Education appraised its condition thus: "This is nothing but an old dwelling remodeled into three class rooms. The rooms are badly lighted, have low ceilings and are heated by non-jacketed stoves. There is no playground and the whole situation is unworthy of Birmingham."

At that time, the school building was still privately owned, though it was operated by the city. It housed 87 students in grades 1-4 and, along with Cleveland Elementary School, which housed 107 students, served the communities of Elyton, West End, Graymont and Owenton, which then already had more than 600 school-age black children in need of classrooms. The Bureau recommended immediate construction of a new building. Instead, the Princeton School moved to the upper floor of a commercial building on Lomb Boulevard, and later to a CME Church on the corner of Washington Avenue and 9th Street Southwest.

In the early 1930s the Birmingham Board of Education accepted funding raised by the public and responded to parents' petitions to establish a new public school in the Rising community. That first building housed four classrooms and an office.

In 1961 Princeton Elementary School was improved with the addition of three classrooms, and by adding a brick veneer to the entire building. Henry Sprott Long designed the renovations, which were carried out by Joe Kurtts for $45,000.