Harris School History
(Have you ever wondered why Harris Elementary is located on High School Street?)
The old Harris School was constructed as Woonsocket High School in 1876. It replaced the original Woonsocket High School, built in 1849, at a cost of $8000, which was destroyed by a fire in 1875. The land for the original school was donated by Woonsocket Industrialist Edward Harris. The 1876 school building included a tall spire, which was later torn down. Over the years, the old school building underwent many alterations. Classroom space was "carved out" by splitting some rooms in half or by taking closet space, cloakrooms, and several feet of floorspace from existing classrooms. An annex [date of construction unknown], located behind the main building, served as Boyden Street Elementary School and was torn down prior to the 1950's. Eventually, the old high school building became an elementary school, though the street name, "High School Street", remained unchanged.
In September of 2001, after the passage of a 6 million dollar bond, the old Harris School was demolished to make way for the existing facility. Harris students and staff were housed in a temporary location, the former St. Louis School, for 16 months while construction was completed. On December 17, 2002, the new, 21 classroom facility was unveiled to the public. The new facility is complete with a cafetorium, gymnasium, library, technology lab, and music and art rooms. On January 2, 2003, Harris students and staff returned to the original site, but certainly not to the "old" Harris School.