This is an article published in the Pennsylvania School Board Association's (PSBA) Bulletin in August of 2006.
J. Henry Cochran Elementary School, situated in Williamsport’s picturesque Vallamount neighborhood, was built in 1928 on a 9.85 acre plot of land. This land was donated by the family of state Senator J. Henry Cochran - a pioneer, lumberman, banker, and philanthropist. Shortly after the land acquisition, the School Board of the City of Williamsport began planning the construction of the original two-story building. When Cochran Elementary opened on August 24, 1928, it consisted of 16 classrooms, a large double room, and a kindergarten. A large Cochran shield, designed by architects Richter and Eller, was located at the front entrance of the school. The architectural firm also developed Cochran’s design with future additions in mind.
The first addition to the original building was completed in 1951. At that time, the east-west corridor was expanded with the construction of another floor of classrooms, a gymnasium, and a cafeteria. When renovations were completed, Cochran had grown from16 to 32 classrooms in order to accommodate the city’s growing population.
The most current addition is a 2000-01 project which includes a new library, computer lab, multipurpose room with stage, cafeteria, large-group instruction area, music rooms, Internet capability, art room, and total handicapped accessibility to all floors. Many steps were taken to match the original architecture with the newest addition, including outside lighting.
Today, Cochran serves a diverse student population of approximately 520 students. Much likes its namesake, J. Henry Cochran Elementary School has become a “trail blazer" in education. The school staff has committed to becoming the first in Pennsylvania to implement the Ohio State Literacy Collaborative framework at the primary and intermediate levels. Cochran has also been identified as a Pennsylvania Advocates for Nutrition and Activity (PANA) Keystone Healthy Zone school for two consecutive years because of its commitment to the wellness of the entire school community.
For more information about J. Henry Cochran Elementary, or the entire Williamsport School District, please access its web site at www.wasd.org/cochran