R. Brown McAllister Elementary School opened in 1958 and is named in honor of Dr. Robert Brown McAllister who was called the “grand old man of education in Cabarrus County”. He was a classroom teacher, school principal, superintendent of Concord City Schools, and instructional supervisor for Cabarrus County Schools before the 1983 merger. Thirty-five hundred Concord residents petitioned the Concord Graded School Board to name the school for him, after it became known that the school might be called the South Concord Elementary School.
At the time of its opening, R. Brown McAllister Elementary School cost the taxpayers $359,000. This was in addition to the architect’s fees of $19,778. At slightly more than ten dollars per square foot and approximately $3,000 under budget, this was considered a very reasonable price for a “modern fire proof building.”.
The first principal of R. Brown McAllister was William M. (Bill) Irvin. He presided over the twelve classrooms in the building which consisted of first through sixth grades. The first year in operation, there were two classes for each grade level. In addition to being the principal, Mr. Irvin was also one of the sixth grade teachers.
An article in the Concord Tribune stated:The building boasts construction of white brick with extensive use of prefabricated concrete, a forward venture in the field of school building construction. Designed under the direction of the school board, the new building also consists of a new type of acoustical ceiling, which employs the use of some plastic. The generous presence throughout of window areas provides maximum lighting in all rooms. The layout of the building consists of three wings with four school rooms in each wing. The bright use of pastel colors throughout the building emphasizes the school’s planning with the student in mind. Including a versatile auditorium which can be adapted to various situations and capable of seating approximately 500 persons, the new school also contains a heating plant which has the power to heat any additions to the building which may come later.
The school was constructed with the possibility of future enlargement in mind.
The modern touch of architecture extends throughout the teachers’ lounge, administrative office, library, cafeteria, and health room. Canopied cement walkways provide exterior access to the classrooms in each wing enclosing the central courtyard. There is also a single service entrance which does not interfere with student traffic, providing a higher degree of student safety during school hours.
In the original architect’s drawing, there are two four-room sections that were to be added to the school at a later date. However the expansion never happened, and the population of R. Brown McAllister has remained almost constant since its opening.