Second Ward School
312 Sandoval Street
Constructed in 1886, the Second Ward School is situated south of the Santa Fe River next to the present New Mexico Employment Security Building. A one-story, hip-roofed structure now covered with brown stucco, it was the first building in Santa Fe erected specifically as a public school, an important step forward in the development of local education. The site on Hancock Street, as Sandoval was then known, was originally purchased by the county for a farmers' market, but that project was not particularly successful and was abandoned after a few years.
Little is known of the first years of the Second Ward School except that only students from the primary grades attended its two classrooms. In an early report regarding conditions in the school, Superintendent James A. Wood noted that he had hung an old bell on top of the building a t a cost of four dollars "from donations" and received a new flag from prominent Santa Feans, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Catron. In the same report Wood also stated that, "We as teachers are endeavoring to create a sentiment among the pupils for regularity in attendance."
During the 1920s it became increasingly apparent that the two-room Second Ward School was unsuited to the needs of a growing community such as Santa Fe. In 1932 Alvord School on Hickox Street was opened and the old structure, which was then referred to as the Hancock Street School, was closed after more than forty-five years of service.