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In the history of many small private institutions of higher education in the United States, one often finds that a preparatory school was part of the institution for a period of time. In part, these schools provided an opportunity for pre-college education for the children of local citizens, and in part the schools were a source of students for the college when it could not attract enough enrollment. At Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), this situation existed for about sixty years. The College had grown out of a school which had been established about 1860. This school was folded into the college as a preparatory school (with about 40% of the enrollees being in the preparatory program), and this continued until 1926 when it was finally phased out because the local schools had improved and there was less need for a feeder school. Running two different programs with students of diverse ages was difficult but necessary. After the preparatory school was phased out, the College became fully accredited.
Circa 1887 a need arose among some of the citizens of Westminster for a school which preceded the college's preparatory school, and so a primary school was also formed. Soon the college facilities for such a program became cramped, and Levine Primary School was built, generously funded by the parents of a student enrolled in the school. The primary school flourished for awhile; interest eventually waned, however, and it was not financially feasible to keep it going. So the preparatory school moved into the building (which was renovated and expanded), freeing up many dormitory rooms and classrooms for the collegiate program. When the preparatory school closed, the building became a senior men's dormitory. In 1937 the building became the home of the music department, providing offices, studios, practice rooms, and a recital hall for a growing and successful program. A large addition to the building was built in 1999 to provide for a band room and more practice rooms.
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Schofield, Samuel Biggs, and Marjorie Cowles Crain. Western Maryland College The Formative Years, 1866-1947. Westminster, MD: Western Maryland College, 1982.
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Zepp, Ira G. "Western Maryland College: The Hill." In A Grateful Memory: History of Baker Chapel. Westminster, MD: Western Maryland College, 1995.