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From its beginning East Central State Normal School's main purpose was that of a teacher training school. Elementary and junior high students were taught at ECU from the beginning. In 1919 funds were approved for the second classroom building on campus. Originally called the Education Building, its name was later changed to honor famous educator Horace Mann. The new building, which was located where the current Physical and Environmental Science Building is, housed the teacher training school headed by John Zimmerman. In 1925 Horace Mann became an accredited four-year high school in addition to the junior high and elementary divisions of the school.

In 1953 the new Horace Mann building was completed and still stands today. The training school was moved to this building and remained there until the program was discontinued in 1960.

Pictured is a Horace Mann class photo taken in the early 1950s.