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Ground Breaking Ceremony

March 27, 2014


A Ground Breaking Ceremony for the new school addition was held March 20, 2014.  The following is a brief history of the school that was read by the Student Council:

At the heart of every prosperous and progressive community is a school and Niobrara is no exception.  A school educates the next generation of citizens as an investment in the future of the community.

The first school in Knox County was taught here by J.H. Billings in 1871, giving Niobrara the District Number One listing in the county records.  Yes, we’re number one and always have been.

The first school house was a two-story wooden structure.  But in 1886, a new brick school building was built on the hill by the Bayha Bros. of Niobrara, commanding a grand view of the town and countryside.

By 1901, the school had become so crowded that another building was added at the south end of today’s playground for the primary grades.  And, in 1902, Niobrara switched from a graded school to a high school system, preparing students for higher education.  A nine-month school term was also adopted at this time.

In 1913, a new building was needed as the school seemed to be bursting at the seams with kindergarten and the primary grades meeting in three locations on Main Street.  In 1914, a $10,000 bond issue for a new four room brick building was attempted, but it was voted down the first-time around.  But then in 1916, the front-half of the present high school building was completed, housing all grades.  Some extra-curricular activities, kindergarten and the science laboratory remained in the 1886 building.

In 1921, the high school boys worked to get a gym floor for the school.  They volunteered to do most of the labor and convinced several organizations to donate money as well.  They spent their fall break pouring cement and after it dried, laying the floor.  This gym located in today’s art room was as good as any in Northeast Nebraska.  The students also raised $90 and the school allowed another $190 to add showers for after practice.

In 1940, a $12,000 addition was constructed under the WPA, adding a high school assembly room, gym and stage where the library, classrooms, and old gym are located today.

By the time the 1960s rolled around, the school was once again bursting at the seams with baby boomers and the reorganization of the rural schools that began in 1962.  At that time, our district became District 1-R and in August 1964, at a cost of $181,000 the existing elementary building was completed.

In 1968, a new multi-purpose building, including the present gym was built for $274,000 with $12,000 being spent on equipment.

In 2005, a bus barn and Industrial Arts building was added when the school purchased the buses from Bob Olson.

And now in 2014, just 100 years after the effort began to build a new school on the hill to house a rising enrollment, Niobrara is once again seeing rising enrollment and looking to the future with new construction of a high school, middle school, pre-school, administrative offices and a competition gym, plus renovation of all facilities below the hill.  Now the price is just under $10 million dollars, instead of $10,000 like 100 years ago, but the objective is still the same – educating the youth of our community.

And, as we have always been, we are proud of our school, because we are still Niobrara Number One!



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