In November 1934 a central school district was created to provide a high school for the elementary school students of four school districts: Merrick, North Merrick, Bellmore, and North Bellmore. In a period of fourteen months an architect was hired, plans were drawn, bonds were authorized, land was acquired, construction contracts were signed, and ground was broken.
Twenty months later, September 8, 1937, hundreds of students entered a beautiful new building in North Bellmore. The building, designed by Frederick Wiedersum of Valley Stream, is a unique modern design of that art-deco period.
The classroom section of the building is U-shaped, three stories high. In front of that is the part that is strikingly different, shaped like a bird (or some say like a 747 aircraft). The wings are two stories high and are occupied by the gyms and locker rooms on the left and the auditorium and band room on the right. The center is four stories high with the lower section being a two-story high entry foyer. The top half is the two-story library.
This photo, from the 1942 yearbook Treasure Chest is a view from the front of the library towards the entrance from the third-floor classroom corridor. Miss Moyle, the Librarian, is seated at the circular desk by the entrance, while students are working at the tables.
The first issue of the Mepham school newspaper, The Buccaneer, described the library:
"The walls of the library are done in four shades of yellow, the deepest shade at the bottom giving way to pastel or ivory at the top. This contrasts with the olive of the ceiling. Grill work inside the dome serves as a screen for the ventilator. Tall fluted columns correspond in design to the carving above the shelves. The blue in the sculptured panels corresponds to the blue in the imported Parisian drapes. The charging desk is elliptical. It is made of especially treated oak wood like that of the tables and chairs. It has cash drawers, a removable cover for the charging trays, and shelf-list drawers."
Dedication of the Library
The first issue of The Buccaneer also included this information:
The library is dedicated to Mr. William S. Christy, Sr., who worked so faithfully to achieve our central high school. He was the clerk of the first board of education. He died last fall just as work begun on the new building.
Over the past 75 years many changes have taken place in the school, and they have included a number in the library. In 1962 the building's classroom "U" was closed with a 3-story section in the rear of the building that included a second gym, new cafeterias, and many more classrooms. In the library the charging desk was replaced and relocated. The drapes are now garnet color, to match the school colors.
At that time the study hall to the west of the library was attached to the library as a new wing. Here, in the quiet of the library, the students can use their own computers and connect to the school's WiFi system, as they can throughout the school.
The large screen is a SMART Board (an interactive whiteboard), hooked up to a computer and projector. Students and teachers use it as a presentation tool. The room in the back is used by the library assistant, for magazines, yearbooks, bulletin board supplies, etc. our computer tech also sits back there and works on technology-related tasks.
Many of the students work at two computer stations in the main section of the library instead of on the tables used years ago.
Restoration and Preservation Project
In 2012 a donation to the school district by the W.C. Mepham High School Alumni Association was used to restore and preserve the columns, friezes, and bookshelves of the library that had been deteriorated by condensation and heat. For more details on the preservation project click here.