Learn About Callaway Public Schools History
The first school meeting held in Callaway was a hotly contested affair, held August 1, 1887 in the Deems Opera House; C. W. Root, moderator Dr, A. L. Mathews, director, and F. A. Clark, treasurer. The tract offered by Smith and Needham was considered the best location and their proposition was accepted, the tract located south across the creek from the original townsite. A unanimous vote was cast for a nine month school starting in September 1887, bonds voted not to exceed $1,500 for the building. The contract for building a two-story brick schoolhouse was awarded to John Wirges and S. R. Idell. The brick was from the kiln of Mr. Wirges, of Callaway. This was the first two-story building erected in Custer County and the people of the community carried the project through by subscribing liberally in money and material to have the second story erected, there being barely enough funds in the treasury to complete one story. School censes, 1888–54. The new brick school was ready for use in the fall of 1889; the first class graduated from the tenth grade in 1893. The bell on the school house, which was donated by the Ladies Union, was put up. The bell weighs about 200 pounds and is a beauty. It has a very sweet tone and can be heard for a long distance. This bell is now located at the west side of the Callaway School. This building was blown down and completely wrecked June 4, 1894 in a terrible storm.
After the destruction of the brick building, a frame building about the same size was built. This was completed during the summer of 1894 and was ready for occupancy by the time school started in the fall. This building served the community for fourteen years. During this time Callaway had its greatest growth and the building became inadequate in size in a few years and a one-room building was built to take care of the increase in enrollment, but this was not sufficient. John Smith bought the building, dismantled it and built the big barn on his farm (now owned by Fred Smith.)
In 1907 bonds were voted for the erection of a new building. The amount of the bonds issue was $22,000, the total cost of the building and grounds was $25,000. The building was completed in January, 1909. In the fall of 1909, the 11th grade was added and in the fall 1919, the 12th grade was added. It contained two stories and a basement and was 50×70 feet in size. This building was town down in the summer of 1959.
In 1922 bonds to amount of $45,000 were voted for the purpose of erecting a high school building. The building was completed the following January. The high school was transferred to the new building. It was 60×80 with two stories and a basement. This building was razed in 1974 when the new Junior-Senior High building was ready for occupancy.
In January, 1921-23, the agriculture building was added at a cost of $5700. The one-story building is 50×60 and is now used for storage.
In 1958 bonds in the amount of $293,000 were voted for the purpose of building a new grade school and auditorium. The grade school has classrooms for grades Kindergarten through Sixth, auditorium, athletic dressing rooms and a new heating plant. School opened in the new building September, 1959.
The planning for the present building began in 1971 by the School Board. The first public meeting was held in March 1972, with the bond issue election being held May 2, 1972. Eighty seven percent of the voters voted YES on the $697,000 bonds. The plans called for 42,000 square feet of new construction. Hinde Laurinat and Nelson of North Platte were the architects and Roedar Brothers Construction Company of Kearney were the General Contractors. Total cost of the new structure is $830,948. This includes all construction costs, architects fees, new furniture and equipment, demolition of the old building and extra cement and siding of yard. Interest on money invested yielded $48, 500 and a grant of $8833 from Title III funds for equipment, totaled $57,333 of total cost. New cost to the local School District was $773,615 of $19.78 per square foot. The first classes were held September, 1974.
August 30, 1888
The bell for the schoolhouse, which was donated by the Ladies Union, arrived last week and was put up on Tuesday. The bell weighs 200 pounds and is a beauty. It has a very sweet tone and can be heard for a long distance.