In 1895 there were at least 100 school age children in Rossland but no school. A Methodist Minister, Mr. Birks was hired as a school teacher for $60.00 a month.
In September 1895, a schoolroom was set up in the only building available – the one room Methodist Church, located above the Sour Dough Alley, the roughest part of town. The room was freezing and the children were herded together on hard wooden benches. Sickness spread so quickly that Mr. Birks could count half the students being absent on any given day. In December the church-turned-school was “lined with paper and otherwise rendered weather proof.”
In 1896 a two-room building was built on Kootenay Avenue with $1,390 dollars from the BC Government. There was only enough money for benches and desks in one classroom so locals made more but not enough for the 143 students. By 1897, 500 students crammed into the two-room school.
Citizens continued to pressure the government until they received a grant of $11,700 dollars to build a larger school. In 1898 the new eight-room Central School was ready for Rossland’s 500 plus students. By using the old schoolhouse as well as the new one, the average number of students in each class was reduced to approximately 50. Central school was located on the corner of Fourth Ave and St. Paul Street.
By 1915 a second school was constructed at the corner of Second Ave and St. Paul Street. However, on the night of June 23, 1917 Central School was reduced to ashes. Although arson was suspected, it was never proven.