Facilities for the first Crusaders
The H-shaped facility had two “postage-stamp” size gymnasiums on the second floors of the “legs,” separated into boys’ and girls’ gyms. According to many, students rarely if ever used the showers in the locker room. After all, the girls’ changing room only had one showerhead. Students met in classrooms on the first floor and in the “cross” leg, while the building also housed office space, a library and a small basement cafeteria. The entire facility had hardwood oaken floors. The biology lab was on the first floor of the south leg while the chemistry lab was located on the western side of the “H”. Commercial educational activities that included shorthand and typing were located in classrooms on the second floor near the boys’ gym.
The auditorium, usable now after the removal of the temporary floor installed by the Army, had a stage and balcony. The Army apparently had, while vacating the premises, left the seats behind so it was fully equipped. Students entering the balcony had to be constantly reminded to move to the middle of the seating area to better facilitate crowd movement. The auditorium also served the general Lutheran community. The annual three-day Missouri District Teachers Conference was held there each fall. The gyms also became Lutheran community centers for Walther League basketball and volleyball contests.
As enrollment exceeded expectations, three classrooms were added in the basement area and another “half room” was adapted for religion classes. Rumors of a swimming pool covered over to serve as locker space probably had origins in the creative memories of those who had seen It’s a Wonderful Life. A paved yard behind the school did include one tennis court. It was rarely used for any official activities except for the class “jumps” as students advanced to the next year’s class status. Many of the new students helped prepare the building and some time during the first two years began to refer to themselves as Crusaders. Barbara Kuehnert (C ‘50) designed the first Crusader logo.