Wells Alternative Middle School

1221 East Galena Street

Wells Elementary school opened its doors in 1956. 

Its namesake, Bert C. Wells was born in Sheridan, Indiana on July 19,1880. 

Bert Wells
Courtesy: findagrave.com

Wells was educated at Friends University in Wichita and at Haverford College, receiving the A.B. degree from both institutions. 

Wells married Sara Shoemaker in Indianapolis on August 7, 1904. Their marriage produced two children: Dorothy and Frances.

Bert Wells served as Wichita’s city engineer from 1907 until 1917. 

He was a member of the Friends Church and served on the Board at Friends University. He was the first vice-president of the International City Managers Association, he was also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Kansas Engineers Society, Public Health Nursing Association and Kiwanis.

He was nominated for governor in 1938, The Atchison Globe said that he was a “practical, sensible, wholesome administrator of public affairs. He has poise and congeniality and looks forward; yet his feet never leave the ground. He has only one deficiency. He doesn’t know how to make a speech. But if Kansas wants a governor who knows how to economize without being stingy, who knows how to handle men and who knows what a dollar is worth, B.C. Wells is the man to consider.”

In 1936, Mr. Wells announced that he would resign at the end of his appointment.

Nearly 300 petitions from civic clubs and groups urged him to reconsider.  He finally withdrew his resignation. 

In 1939, he retired as Wichita city manager and bought a farm eight miles east of Wichita.

Wells passed away on September 2, 1948. He was 68 years old. His beloved Sara, passed away in 1963 at the age of 85.  The couple are interred at Maple Grove Cemetery.

When Wells Elementary opened, the enrollment was expected to increase. A recession forced the district to change boundaries to bring in more kids. In 1968 children were bused from Mueller Elementary to Wells.

Wells was closed as an elementary school in 1986 due to declining enrollment.  The students were merged with several other small schools into Anderson Elementary. 

In 1986, Wells was turned into an alternative special education center for students in all grades. In 1990 high school students were moved to Sowers High School, and Wells became an alternative school for special education and regular students.  In 1994, Wells was made an alternative special education center for middle school students.

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