Repairs planned for austere building associated with Carmen Lyra

Repairs are planned for the structure that housed the country’s first Montessori school that was founded by the woman who now is on the 20,000-colon bill.

This is what cultural ministry officials call an austere building adjacent to the Escuela Buenaventura Corrales. known to many as the Escuela Met·lica.

The woman is MarÌa Isabel Carvajal, who is better known by her pen name of Carmen Lyra. She was a teacher with a European education who founded the Escuela Maternal Montessoriana in 1925 for the benefit of poor children. It was the first pre-school in the country.

The Centro de Investigaciún y Conservaciún del Patrimonio Cultural said it is investing some $19,000 to repair the roof and the facade. The frame building now is two-story and used by the adjacent school as a computer law and library.

The work probably is as much because of the woman as the building. MarÌa Isabel Carvajal is known as one of the country’s most famous writers, a campaigner for women’s rights, a social agitator and one of the founders of the country’s Communist party.

Her best-known work is still in print. It is “Cuentos de Mi Tia Panchita,” translated as “Tales of My Aunt Panchita,” a collection of short stories and folk tales. But she also wrote a novel about the banana workers that probably contributed to their strikes. Like many famous Costa Ricans, she was exiled after the 1948 revolution and died the next year in MÈxico.

When the school was founded, the building had just one

This is a school scene probably from the 1930s.

This is a school scene probably from the 1930s.

floor. The second was added later.

The building will not win any beauty awards. Ms. Carvajal is quoted in a 1929 newspaper article calling the structure ugly and badly lighted. And, she said, the roof leaks.

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