History of Barr Middle School

Take a virtual Tour of Barr Middle School


History of Barr Middle School


1922--A decision was made by the Grand Island School District to organize the system into a kindergarten-six, seven-nine, ten-twelve arrangement.

1924--It was reported to be the first junior high in the state. The cost to build was $140,000.

  Howard J Finley

 Howard J. Finley, first principal of the R.J. Barr Junior High, 1924.

This photograph was found in a time capsule, July 1998, in a corner stone while demolishing "Old Barr" also known as Connell, 318 South Clark.

newspaper article

A School is Named

The school was named for R.J. Barr who was Superintendent of Schools from 1882-1922


R.J. Barr

RJ Barr


  1947 Barr Football Team

football team

 Changes Take Place

1956--Superintendent Wiltse began developing educational specifications for a new building. The processes leading to the actual construction of a new building took 11 years.

1958--A seventh grade common core curriculum for both junior high schools was approved.

1960--A foreign language lab was added to the school.

1961--The Junclaus store, located just west of the school, was leased for the site of the shop for the next five years.

1965--February--Decision reached to place the new school on property north of Stolley Park Road.

Building of a New School--Approved 

 school bond poster


1965--April--Bond issue of $1,760,000 was approved.

1965--October--Contract for construction of school awarded to Johnson Company of Salina, Kansas. Total cost of the project was $1,154,283.

1965--November--Ground breaking ceremony occurred.

groundbreaking picture


1966--Cornerstone of the building laid by the Grand Lodge AF & AM of Nebraska.

construction picture

New Barr Junior High School Completed


  Barr Jr. High

 1967--Fall--School was occupied for the 1967-1968 school year with an enrollment of 683 students.  Formal dedication on November 19, 1967.  The new building included climate control, elevator, auditorium, two industrial arts rooms, cafeteria, vocal and instrumental music rooms, nursing station, counselor's offices, gymnasium, two home economics rooms, classrooms for all academic areas and outdoor space for physical education activities. 

Barr Jr. High

1967--June--A major flood causes $80,000 in damages to the new building.

1967--October--Additional property was purchased to enlarge the site.

1969--The school newspaper formerly titled the Crowbar, and the Barr Barker, was renamed The Paper Bulldog. Boys wrestling was added to the extracurricular activities.

1972--Student enrollment increased from 618 students to 756 students due to annexation of Central Park area south of town.

1975--Girls basketball, volleyball and track programs began in the fall.

1980--Tornadoes which struck Grand Island, on the night of June 3, 1980, caused $264,489.73 worth of damage to the building. The building was repaired in time for the opening of school in the fall.

1988--A seven period day was implemented, a change from six periods, allowing students to have more opportunity for exploratory courses.

1989--Twenty years of celebration for the school newspaper was celebrated with a Twentieth Anniversary Edition. The journalism paper earned a medalist rating, the highest awarded by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, from 1980 through 1990.

1990--A fenced all-weather track and new football field was approved at a cost of $97,000.

1991--Principal Frank Haack retires after serving as an Administrator to Barr Junior High from 1959-1991. 

1993--Bond issue for the Grand Island School District passes. Barr Junior High gains $3,110,000 for the remodeling and building process.

1994--Breaking of ground for the new facility begins.

1995--Remodeling and construction are underway for a new middle school facility. 

1997--The facility is scheduled to be completed and opened as Barr Middle School.

1998--Time Capsule is opened by:  former Principal Frank Haacke and former Assistant Principal Al Satterly. 

newspaper article


2005--School Bond was passed to add 6 new classrooms and a new Media Center on to Barr.

2006--Construction began for the newest addition.


construction picture

 2006--In March classes were held in the new addition.