After returning home I did some more research on the school I had spotted on my adventures. It was designed in the 1930’s by the same architect who had drawn the houses in Lättälä, Väinö Vähäkallio, and expanded in the 1950’s. It had once been the main school of the town, but was closed down six years earlier because of indoor air problems. It had been empty since then.
The town was wondering what to do with the building. It was designed by a famous architect and a landmark with a rich history in the small town. Yet its expansion had caused it to lose lose some of its architectural value, it was in a bad shape and the town really had no use for it.
I didn’t know how the town officials would react to urban explorers, but the only way to get inside the school was to contact them. I called the official responsible for the town’s buildings expecting a strict ban on entering. To my surprise he said yes, agreed to drop the keys to the front desk of the town hall and said I could have them for as long as I liked, as they didn’t need them anymore.
I called the friend who had been with me in the planing mill the previous spring and she gladly accepted my invitation to join me. And off to Hamina we went again.
The keys were at the town hall front desk. I didn’t only get a single key, I got all the keys to this building. As far as I know, there weren’t any break ins or vandalism and the school was never accessible for random people. That’s why I believe we are one of the very few urban explorers, who had the chance to document this building since its abandonment.
This school pretty much began, where the old village abattoir ended. We started from the ground floor, where the old classrooms were filled with all kinds of miscellaneous stuff like a huge scale.
Unlike in the old abattoir, most of the stuff in this school could actually be explained. It is not very uncommon for people travelling to sports tournaments or other events where a large number of kids is present, to sleep in school classes. I believe the mattresses were here because of that.
A part of the stuff was apparently destined to get a new life elsewhere. The shelves are badged to a nursing home for old people, the strange white machine has another school’s name on it. The strange thing is, this school was also closed down in 2005, the same year as the school we are in now, and so the stuff apparently was never transferred.
Apparently all the coffee machines of the school have gathered here to speculate on their future.
What was really spectacular about this school was, that a lot of the classrooms, halls and stairways had pupil made art on the walls.
The unknown artists of the happy jumping dolphin have signed their work. Who they were and what became of them – no idea.
Around half of the room was inaccessible because of chairs and tables. Is the whole school just gonna be a massive storage facility, we asked ourselves.
This had probably been the school canteen. The doorway was also decorated by the pupils. The doorway was also probably added to the school later on, as its shape and size were totally different from what we found elsewhere.
Another classroom used as storage space. All the furniture is a funny mix of different eras and styles.
The ground floor corridor was very dark and also full of stuff. The doors upstairs lead to one of three gymnasiums.
Some of the ground floor classrooms were a lot emptier than the first ones we encountered.
They had removed the blackboards from most of the classrooms.
I just love these 80’s style curtains.
Here we have the school canteen. The people who had decided what to toss and what to keep were really inconsistent. Some of the kitchen appliances have been removed, some have just been left in their place. And this was the case with almost everything in this school. You could find very random stuff in very random places.
The kitchen backroom. Here they had gone so far that they had removed the cupboard doors, which sit neatly in one corner.
Most of the small stuff had been cleaned away on the first floor. The cleaners had missed this list, though. It’s about how national holidays affected working hours in 2005.
Another classroom filled with randomness from different eras.
This probably was an important part of the handwork lessons when the school was built. Does somebody still know how to use a spinning wheel these days?
This end of the school was built in the 50’s expansion. They demolished the old staircase, extended the corridor and built two classrooms more to each floor. They also added one floor on the gym wing so the school now had three (!) gymnasiums.
Some classrooms featured small backrooms. The window is straight to the marketplace, so the location of the school was really, really central.
I once again take my chance to wonder the logic of the people, who cleaned up this place. Why are these chairs left here and not with all the other chairs in one of the classrooms? And why has everything else been taken down from the notice board apart from that one sheet of paper?
Another almost empty classroom. The canister on the window board has contained soap.
And in this little backroom we have a futuristic rug, a throne looking chair and an old typewriter.
I wonder if a little bit of cleaning and a new tape would have restored his working order.
Some more art by the pupils. I wonder if nature has been a theme or if they have chosen their subjects themselves.
Another item left behind: instructions on Finnish grammar.
It was pretty evident from everything that renovations had been neglected for a long time.