The rehabilitation of the Escanaba High School for new use as the Escanaba Middle School demonstrated to the community that restoration costs no more than constructing an entirely new building and provided the community with far greater value. Indeed, the restored building is better than a new building.
Turner of Grand Rapids and Muskegon created the school, calling for solid construction clad in light yellowish-brown brick with classical stylistic elements executed in cream terra-cotta. At a time when millions of tons of red iron ore transported by rail from the iron ranges poured annually over the docks of Escanaba onto ships bound for the steel centers of the lower lakes, the huge school was planned to accommodate 950 students. The interior of the school featured a 750-seat auditorium as fine as any theater in the state. When the school opened in September 1931, the local newspaper observed that the spacious and beautiful auditorium was its central attraction. In 1998 the Escanaba Area Public Schools hired Diekema Hamann of Kalamazoo to meet the district's junior high school needs.
The new glass-walled south-facing primary entrance affords a sunny welcome to all who enter the building. Multicolor red, brown, pale brown, and cream brick covers the exterior walls of the addition, complementing that of the historic building. The addition accommodates the gymnasium, restrooms, and classrooms.