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Campus Transportation and Growth of the Normal School

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bullet The academic mission of Western State Normal School, and all the normal schools of the era, was to provide the programs and training required for earning a State of Michigan teaching certificate.  Western offered curricula in three areas: Rural School Certificates, Three-Year Certificates, and Life Certificates.

bullet Each of the certificate programs required student-teachers to 'practice' or intern at an elementary (grades K through 8) or a secondary school (grades 9 through 12, also called preparatory schools).  Western's Training School building was constructed in 1909 and initially housed grades K through 8.  The Normal High School started in 1911.

bullet The Rural School programs were different, involving partnerships with area rural schools (one- or two-room schools in outlying townships).   In 1923 the Rural Education Department contracted with several rural districts to provide student-teacher 'practice sites'.  Western State Normal school buses provided transportation to the various practice sites.

bullet After Western's campus began expanding westward across the railroad tracks in the 1940's, it was deemed necessary to provide some sort of transportation between the 'east' and the 'west' campuses; a campus shuttle bus was in service well into the 1970's. 

bullet Meanwhile, in 1967, the publicly-owned Kalamazoo Metro Transit System replaced the privately-owned Kalamazoo City Lines.  Since then the Metro has provided a variety of transportation options for Western students.  

bullet The most recent transit service agreements with Western provide shuttle routes on the Main Campus, the Oakland Drive Campus and the Parkview Campus. In addition, several arterial routes connect the Main Campus with major apartment complexes.

1920's school bus
Western State Normal School bus delivers 'teachers-in-training' (Rural Education curriculum) to Portage consolidated school on South Westnedge, ca. 1920's.

1930's school bus
Western school buses parked at the Electronics Shop (former Heating Plant) on Oakland Drive; ca. 1930's. (Science Building and Library in background.)

1952 map; bus stop on Hays Circle
1952 drawing: bus stop on Hays Circle

1952 map; bus stop on Oakland Drive
1952 drawing: bus stop on Oakland Drive

1953 school bus
Western students boarding bus in front of Oakland Gymnasium on Oakland Drive; photo dated 1953.
Bus driver, Eddie, standing by Eddie's Lane sign
Dedication of 'Eddie's Lane', honoring long-time campus bus driver; photo dated 1956.
Location of Eddie's Lane