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Vilas School
El Paso, Texas


Description: Vilas School
Other Names: Mundy Heights School
Address: 220 Lawton Avenue, El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
Type: educational; elementary
Original Client: El Paso Independent School District
Historic Inventory: in Sunset Heights Historic District
Date: 1908-1909; cornerstone date January 13, 1909
Condition: extant; in use as a school

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Dimensions and Orientation: 63 feet, 8 inches across (Lawton side) x 97 feet, 7 inches, excluding entry stairs; faces northwest.
Budget/Cost: the value of school in 1909 was $38,000

Foundation: concrete
Wall Materials: buff brick
Roofing Materials: originally metal shingles
Other Materials Used: cast iron window frames; concrete stairs and ornament.
Remodeling and Additions: In 1916, a Trost designed fire escape was installed on the Vilas School. Additions were made in 1962, 1975, 1981 and 1985. See bibliography, below.

Present Owner: El Paso Independent School District
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: (B-5) 19 ink on linen plans, including side, front and rear elevations, dated revised 12/14/08; Ponsford 442, photograph of a rendering of elevation.
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library, Ponsford 441, general view from Lawton Avenue; Aultman, A5410, A5829, 1089

Bibliography: (1) William D. Boyd, Vilas Elementary School, El Paso, Texas: Additions and Restoration. Boyd and Associates, architects, Triglyph, Number 7 (Winter 1988-89), pages 27-29 the Description of original building and additions. Five illustrations including ground plan.
(2) O’Dette Havel, Built to Be the Best: El Paso Firms Win Kudos for Architecture, El Paso Times, February 2, 1989, pages 1D and 5D (picture of restored 1909 portion of Vilas School, description of award to Boyd and Associates for their work in designing the 1985 addition.

Remarks: Ponsford 442 shows a building approximately three times larger than the current building (before additions begun in 1962), and is inscribed on the back, Vilas School Building, El Paso, as it will look when completed. The building is similar in appearance to Alta Vista School , and apparently was to be built in stages as Alta Vista was. Vilas School was named for Walter N. Vilas, M. D., a pioneer El Paso physician and member of the school board from 1904 to 1908. The opening date of January 13, 1909, only had 10 classrooms.


Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990