School History


Grand Island's West Lawn Elementary School, originally located in Grand Island's so-called "Five Points" area (1804 West State Street), was first occupied in November, 1919. The original plan was to have the school ready in September, but construction was delayed. It was built during the administration of Grand Island Superintendent of Schools Robert J. Barr, who directed the public schools system for 40 consecutive years, 1882-1922.

Until the new school was ready in 1919, classes were held at the nearby Grand Island Baptist College, located at the site of today's Grand Island Senior High. The Grand Island Board of Education had made arrangements for students from the college seeking teaching certificates to do their practice teaching at the new school. The first principal at West Lawn was Agnes Switzer, who later became the wife of Grand Island physician Dr. J.G. Woodin.

The original 1919 West Lawn was a one-story structure and housed children grades kindergarten through third. It had a main entrance on the west and a kindergarten entrance on the east. By the second semester of the first year, a fourth grade room was completed.

In 1924, a second story to accomodate fifth and sixth graders was added. The cost for the addition was $33,000.

In March, 1934, an auditorium addition was completed. This included two second-floor classrooms, a small kitchen and storage space. The cost was $45,000.

In November, 1953, a third addition was completed. It consisted of six classrooms, a principal's office, workroom for teachers, restrooms, and a larger kitchen at a cost of $150,000. Another $18,538 was spent on remodeling the heating system and the older portion of the building.

The new West Lawn Elementary School was built on the "Mae Clark Site" at 3022 West College Street in 1994-1995 as a result of the passage of a bond issue.

The architects for the new building were Dana Larson Roubol and Associates from Omaha, Nebraska. The general contractor was Mid Plains Construction Company of Grand Island, Nebraska. The Superintendent of Schools was Lane Plugge and Nyla Alexander was the principal of the school. The $2,760,000 school opened its doors in August of 1995 to 300+ kindergarten through sixth grade students.