Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/410

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make sure of our air supply under all the varying conditions of this changeable climate.

Under the old means of ventilation—doors windows, and suction shafts:

The ventilation heretofore has been imperfect, with a great prevalence of cold draughts, annoying and dangerous to teachers and pupils. Unreflecting people, however, will tell you that it was well enough, and all the expenditure that has been made to secure good ventilation in this schoolhouse is unnecessary—a mere waste of money. Those who make this assertion have no arguments based on facts to present for our consideration. They simply give us their opinion, generally accompanying the expression of it with a sneer, or an opprobrious epithet, like that of "crank," hurled at the advocates of free ventilation. Now, if so important a matter as this is to be settled by authority; if any man's ipise dixit is to be regarded as final, it should surely be that of a person who has some knowledge of the subject. I am of the opinion that the liberal supply of fresh air which has been provided for this building is necessary to the health of its occupants; and there is not a recent scientific investigator in this field, there is not a well-known writer upon hygiene, there is not an intelligent physician in the world who will not support me in this opinion. Then, what of the cost? Do you care for that, citizens of L——, if it is necessary for the health of your children? I am well assured that you do not. We, who spend our lives in effort to combat disease, can assure you that no other investment of money pays so well as that the income of which is good health; for, in securing this return, we secure with it, as a possibility at least, nearly everything which life can give of enjoyment or usefulness.[1]

The doctor then proceeded to give an itemized statement of the working cost of this new ventilating arrangement, and showed it to be about seven mills per occupant daily; but, inasmuch as his calculations were based on the previous attendance, and as the present year has witnessed a very notable increase of attendance, even to the extent of requiring utilization for schoolroom of portions of the library space, without increase of the total cost of ventilation, the expense may probably be safely stated as not exceeding half a cent for each occupant daily. Even this slight expenditure (not in excess but instead of that of previous expedients) may, in one sense, be regarded as no expenditure at all, in view of the fact that there is not an intelligent teacher but will testify to a manifest improvement in the result of her labors far in excess of the added cost.

The necessity of ample ventilation is therefore evident, even from the narrow merely scholastic standpoint; and we may be more sure that—as education comes to be recognized in the broader and more proper sense, which includes the full and plenary development of all the physical, mental, and moral faculties—that necessity will become more abundantly manifest.

  1. Dedicatory Address at Opening of the High School of the City of L——, p. 210.