Constructed in 1938, Rivermont School occupies a prominent site in a modest residential area in the City of Covington, the Alleghany County seat. Located northeast of Covington’s central business district and governmental center, the school exemplifies the Virginia Department of Education’s initiative to supply students with spacious, well-ventilated, and amply lit instructional areas. It is one of the county’s most intact mid-20th-century educational buildings. Designed by the Roanoke-based architecture and engineering firm Smithey and Boynton, the property includes a two-story main block and one-story auditorium/cafeteria wing built in 1938; a 1960 one-story, two-unit administrative office, library, and four-classroom south addition; and a one-story, two-classroom northwest addition constructed in 1970. All sections of the Rivermont School are characterized by flat-roofed angular forms, horizontal massing, redbrick-veneered concrete walls, and tall multi-pane windows. Parts of the school’s interior—the original wall, ceiling, and floor finishes, as well as the doors, cabinets, blackboards, bookshelves, bulletin boards, and the auditorium stage—remain remarkably intact. The 1938 section of the building displays elements of the Art Moderne architectural style with its streamlined form, decorative masonry, and curved metal entrance canopy. The additions from 1960 and 1970, which were built to accommodate changing educational curricula and increased enrollment, reflect the Modernist style with their angular forms, horizontal massing, and tall, rectangular, steel-frame, five-pane windows. Two fieldstone walls erected south and west of the Rivermont School ca. 1938 and ca. 1970 are contributing structures of the listed property. The 1938 school and its 1960 and 1970 additions were built for the neighborhood’s white children as part of the Covington Board of Education’s efforts to alleviate overcrowding in the city’s elementary schools. The Rivermont School implemented progressive pedagogy and also served as a community gathering place throughout its years of operation.
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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark