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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

The Dormitory Opens

The school of agriculture was a major part of the early success of Vermilion. Built thanks to the fact that Alberta premier Arthur Sifton represented Vermilion, it brought in students, jobs and money for the community.

In 1928, it received one of its biggest additions, a $200,000 dormitory.

This structure was a beautiful building that had all the modern conveniences within it. Despite it being 1928, the building had an electric dishwasher, something that was quite new for the time. It also had an electric washer for the clothes.

The dormitory would house 200 students, and measured in at 200 feet wide in the front, with each wing extending back 115 feet, while being 35 feet wide. Within the building, there was also a dining room that was 90 feet long and 40 feet wide.

There was also a beautiful library that was 65 feet by 30 feet, complete with tables, chairs and many, many books. Then there was the gymnasium, measuring 80 feet wide by 60 feet.

To keep things warm, the building contained 6,000 feet of wall radiation. The heating and plumbing was installed by an Edmonton company and automated valves ensured the same temperature throughout the building.

Next to the building, there was a 40,000 gallon steel tank that had been erected and it towered over the building. Rising to 60 feet, it provided water to the entire school.

Sod was first broken on the building in May 1927, and the last touch of paint was finished in October 1928. All the material was hauled from Vermilion and work continued without a break.

The construction of the building was important. As soon as construction finished, the building was filled with students as enrolment had continued to increase. At the time, 236 students were housed in the building.

Contact Craig at craig@canadaehx.com

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Listen to his podcasts Canadian History Ehx, Canada’s Great War, From John to Justin, Pucks and Cups and Canada: A Yearly Journey on all podcast platforms.

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