The Old Princeton School
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|"New" Princeton School|
|Former names||Princeton Elementary, Slippery Rock Twnp High School|
|Alternative names||Carlson Mining Building, The School of Rock|
|Architectural style||Art Deco|
|Address||2520 Mill Bridge Road|
|Town or city||New Castle, PA|
|Owner||Carlson Mining, Inc.|
|Seating type||Collapsible (Gymnasium)|
|Seating capacity||Approx. 150|
The Princeton School is a former school building located in the Village of Princeton outside New Castle, Pennsylvania. It was opened in late December 1928, almost seventy years after the village of Princeton was founded. The school has been operated as both a high school and an elementary school during its years of operation. It is not to be confused with the smaller nearby schoolhouse known as the "Old" Princeton School. The building and surrounding property was purchased by Carlson Mining around 1977 for use as an office for its operations. The company also used the garages behind the school for storage. After Carlson Mining ceased mining operations, Jack Carlson (owner of Carlson Mining) began renting out the gymnasium and the old classrooms as office space.
Years as a school
The building was erected in 1928 and served primarily as the Slippery Rock Township High School until the 1955, when the township joined the new Laurel (Joint) School District. The school was then operated primarily as an elementary school in addition to several other elementary schools in the township. The school remained in operation until the construction of Laurel Elementary School which replaced the Princeton Elementary, Hickory Elementary, Harlansburg Elementary, and Eastbrook Middle School. The building and property was considered as a future location for the Princeton Volunteer Fire Dept., but was instead purchased by Carlson Mining circa 1977.
Carlson Mining/Jack Carlson
Founded in 1963, Carlson Mining was a strip mining business with approximately 10 to 19 employees operating in New Castle, PA. The company's owner, Jack Carlson, purchased the abandoned Princeton Elementary School for use as a central office and equipment storage. After phasing out his Strip Mining operations, Jack Carlson began running a trucking service out of the building. He also began renting the building out to the public, and renovated two of the classrooms to be rented out as office space. The offices were used by ProTech Paving for several years.
The school and its grounds have been used extensively by the community for recreational purposes. The original baseball field that was constructed for use by students still stands and is used as a practice field for both baseball and softball. The field was also used for a time by the Slippery Rock Twp. Volunteer Fire Dept. as grounds for their horse shows. These shows subsequently moved to the Scott Twp. Volunteer Fire Dept. The field beside the baseball field has more recently been used as a soccer field, although the Laurel Soccer Club has constructed a new soccer park in Hickory township.
A weekly pickup basketball game is played every Tuesday around 7:30pm. It also hosts a baseball clinic.
Most recently, the school has become renowned for its concerts staged by local musicians earning it the informal title of the "School of Rock". In 2006, a local production company called Dynamic Productions produced a concert featuring a few local bands. This show was set to compete with then-popular "Dr. Glo" who was known for his shows featuring local musicians. The show was a success, and gave the school a new purpose as a concert venue. Dynamic Productions went on to produce two more shows at the school before giving up due to decreasing attendance. In June 2008, Dynamic Productions teamed up with another local promoter, Glenn Hutchison, to produce "June Jam". This show was a success and is considered by many to be the show that kick-started the local music scene back into action. Subsequently, Hutchison created his own production company named "Clutch Productions" and continues producing shows at the venue at a rate of about 4-6 shows per year.