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District History

The Linn-Mar Community School District currently serves more than 7,800 students in 12 buildings.

Through the years, Linn-Mar patrons have demonstrated pride in their schools by supporting financial, curricular, and extracurricular projects and activities.


District Beginnings

1947 – Rural residents of Marion township began the process of organizing what would later become the Linn-Mar Community School District. Once the plan was approved by county and state officials in early 1948,  17 one-room rural schools joined together to make up the student population of Marion Rural Independent Grade School.

Summer 1947: voters approved a $160,000 bond referendum to buy the land and construct a central school building for the new Marion Rural Independent School District. 205 people voted in the election.

In the fall of 1947, the school board was informed that $160,000 was not enough money to construct the proposed building. Another bond vote was held in December 1947 adding another $100,000 to the project. It was approved by the voters by a vote of 70 to 15.

The site purchased was ½ mile north of the Marion City Limits, which is now part of the main campus at 10th Street and 29th Avenue. The 9.3-acre site was purchased for $6,200. The building was designed for 600 students.

The lower level included an activity room, a lunch room, and kitchen. The main floor featured a gym and stage, five classrooms for lower grades, and the principal’s office. The upper floor included classrooms for the upper grades, large restrooms, storage rooms, and a recitation room. Source: Marion Sentinel November 13, 1947 and December 25, 1947 

1949- 287 students attend the new Marion Rural Independent School 1/2 mile north of Marion. The building later became known as Main Elementary, Novak Elementary, and currently, the Learning Resource Center

1959High School Opened From 1949 to 1959, the Marion Rural 9-12 graders were sent to other area districts on a tuition basis at a cost to the district of approximately $40,000 per year.
In 1957, it was determined that there were 99 high school students in the district, 95 attended Marion Independent, 2 went to Cedar Rapids, and 2 to Springville.
On February 1st, 1959 38 acres just north of the elementary building were purchased for $30,000 from Carl Wallace. Ground was broken on April 13th, 1959 for a high school. .

To reduce costs and speed construction, 15 farmers began leveling operations on the 19-acre building site, using their own equipment and receiving no pay.  The building, Iowa’s first electrically heated school, contained 7 general classrooms, science, homemaking, and music rooms plus a library, workshop, and an administrative office. The new building was ready for students by the first week of September, 1959.

In a competition to name the school’s yearbook, “The Medallion” was submitted by Freshman Robert Coons and selected by the student body. According to the first issue 13 teachers, 19 senior students, 27 juniors, 39 sophomores, and 39 freshmen made up the student body of the new high school. An open house was held November 21 and 22, 1959.

1959 Marion Rural Becomes Linn-Mar  Source: Marion Sentinel, November 18, 1959

A contest was held to name the new high school. According to the Marion Sentinel, “The new Marion Rural Community High School will be known as Linn-Mar High School as the result of a contest held within the district to select a name. Sharon Oftedahl, an 8th-grade student, submitted the winning entry. She received a $25 savings bond awarded by the Iowa Electric Light and Power Company. There were 75 entries in the contest, which was judged by the district’s board of education”.

The winning entry combined Linn for Linn County with Mar for Marion Township. “Lion” was chosen as the school nickname and sports mascot.

1960 – An $85,000 bond issue was approved for the first addition to the high school. There were now more than 770 total students in the district. June 1960 marked the Linn-Mar’s first graduation ceremony. 19 seniors were honored. The school board increased from 5 to 7 members for the 1960-61 school year. It has remained at that number ever since.

1961Indian Creek Elementary opened. Five acres of land were purchased for $11,125 to construct the building. It was designed to educate the district’s youngest students. The original building included the office and the current kindergarten classrooms. The first of many additions was in 1962,  with the addition of the multi-purpose room/cafeteria.

1962 – The property purchased for Indian Creek Elementary was determined to be large enough for a football and track facility behind the school. The first football game at the new stadium was played on September 18, 1962.
Unfortunately, Coggon defeated Linn-Mar 27 to 0. In 1970 it was named Armstrong Field in honor of the volunteer team doctor who was killed in a plane crash. The facility was upgraded over the years. The track was reconstructed with an all-weather surface, the first of its kind in Iowa. Due to frequent flooding from Indian Creek, the stadium was relocated to its present location in 2011.

1963Junior High School opened.

1966Wilkins Elementary opened. Wilkins Elementary was the first Linn-Mar building located off the central campus.Wilkins Open House Dedication It was constructed on five and one third acres of land purchased for $11,256 from Lloyd and Mildred Taube. At the same time, the city of Marion purchased eight acres for a neighborhood park on the edge of town, now known as Taube Park. Wilkins Elementary was dedicated on March 5th, 1967. It is named after Clifford Wilkins who served as District Principal from 1950 to 1959 and District Superintendent from 1959 to 1964.

 

1968 Bowman Woods Elementary opened.

In the mid-1960s, a major new housing development was planned on Cedar Rapids’ northeast side. Bowman Woods Elementary was constructed to meet the needs of the incoming families. A Cedar Rapids Gazette story from January 9, 1968, reported the school board approved a “satellite design” featuring a central unit housing administration offices, library, music, and art rooms with four classroom “satellite ” units connected to the central building by corridors. Bowman Woods July 1968

Two additional “satellite units” were later added, one for an expanded library and another for a full gym. The Bowman Woods building was designed by the same architect that designed Wilkins Elementary.


Renovations, Additions, and New Construction

1975 – Educational Services Center and Buildings and Grounds buildings added to the junior/senior high campus.

1980 – Additions to the junior/senior high schools.

1995 – New media centers and remodeling at Indian Creek and Bowman Woods Elementary, 14-room addition to junior/senior high. Linn-Mar Intermediate School opened.

1997 – District patrons passed a $25 million bond levy for the construction of a new elementary building (Westfield Elementary) and extensive expansion and/or renovation projects in virtually all of the other buildings in the district, including a new auditorium and a new gymnasium for the High School. New gymnasiums and classroom additions were constructed at  Wilkins and Indian Creek Elementary and a two-story addition at the northwest corner of the Intermediate School allowed classroom space to transition the building to a middle school.

1998 15 acres of land were purchased along Robins Road on the east edge of Robins. Westfield Elementary was constructed to meet the needs of families in the rapidly growing area.

1999 – Westfield Elementary opened in November. It became Linn-Mar’s fifth elementary school as the district celebrated 50 years!  The district changed from a K-4, 5–6, 7–8, 9–12 grade configuration to a K-5 elementary level, 6–8 middle school, and 9–12 high school. They remained K-5 until 2020 when Boulder Peak and Hazel Point opened for the district’s 5th and 6th grade students.

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A New Century: Student Populations Continue to Grow

2000 – New High School auditorium and Gymnasium completed

2001 – In March, district residents passed a $12 million bond issue to construct a K-8 building, Oak Ridge, on the west side of the district. This was a new concept for the district and a solution to overflow in those grade levels. When a new elementary school was needed, Oak Ridge would become the district’s second middle school.

2003 – In August, Oak Ridge School opened as a K-8 school. It is now Oak Ridge Middle School, grades 6-8.

2007 – Voters in Linn County approved a 10-year School Infrastructure Local Option (SILO) Sales Tax on February 13, 2007. SILO tax revenues were distributed across all school districts in Linn County for the first five years of the tax.

Having received voter approval of over 75% in January 2006, the district constructed two new elementary schools and made renovations to the High School and Novak Elementary. Linn Grove Elementary opened in the Fall of 2007. Echo Hill Elementary opened the following year north of Oak Ridge Middle School. The January 2006 bond referendum was for $27.5 million.

2008 – The Iowa Legislature passed SAVE legislation which extended the penny sales tax for schools to 2029 and created an average per student allocation for school districts across the state. The increase in the sales and use tax from 5% to 6% was intended to replace the 1% SILO tax that had been in effect. The average per student allocation in FY 2011 was $800.20.

2009 – Linn-Mar celebrated 60 years. Click here for 60th anniversary newsletter.

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Creating Improved Learning Environments

2010- To date, SILO revenue has allowed the district to build the new Novak Elementary school (completed June 2010), air condition five schools (Westfield and Novak completed Fall 2009) (Bowman Woods, Indian Creek, and Wilkins completed Fall 2010), construct a 6,000 seat multi-purpose stadium, install additional high school parking (completed Spring 2011), purchase property to relocate Transportation and Operations & Maintenance (completed Fall 2010), relocate the baseball and softball fields to the Oak Ridge property, and build an indoor aquatics center. The Board is forward-focused, anticipating growth, and has purchased nearly 100 acres in anticipation of a new school building sometime in the next decade.

2011-12 In February 2011, Linn-Mar voters approved to extend the Physical Plant & Equipment Levy to June 30, 2015. PPEL is the main revenue source for the maintenance of infrastructure investments that allow local schools to support infrastructure and equipment needs. Roofs, windows, heating and cooling equipment, flooring, plumbing, and parking lot upgrades and repairs are funded through this levy. The district is committed to energy-efficient buildings and is continually evaluating efficiencies. The new Linn-Mar Stadium opened in 2011 and was followed by the opening of the Aquatic Center in 2012.

2015-17 – The district began a $30 million dollar renovation and improvement project at Linn-Mar High School. It was completed in 2017. It included the demolition of a portion of the original 1959 building to allow for the construction of additional air-conditioned classroom space and the Pride Rock Commons. The original front entrance of the high school remains. It is now known as the four corners. The hallway intersection was widened to accommodate the growing number of students. The current four corners area originally housed all the administrative and counseling offices for the high school. The renovation project also included the addition of the South Commons.

2018-19 – In September 2018 district voters approved a $55 million dollar bond referendum to allow for the construction of two new intermediate schools. A double groundbreaking ceremony was held June 27, 2019, first at the site of Hazel Point Intermediate followed by another ceremony at Boulder Peak.

2020- The district changed from a K-5, 6-8, 9–12 grade configuration to a K-4 elementary, 5-6 intermediate, 7–8 middle school, and 9–12 high school.

2020- Monday, September 14th, Hazel Point and Boulder Peak Intermediate Schools opened their doors to students. The start of the 2020-21 school year was delayed by three weeks due to a major windstorm on August 10th, 2020 that caused significant damage to several district facilities, including the new intermediate buildings. The gym roofs at Boulder Peak and Hazel Point sustained damage, causing water to ruin the new gym floors, They were replaced but were not ready for the first day of classes.

2023- Construction began on a new administration building at the corner of Tower Terrace and Winslow Roads east of Excelsior Middle School.

Building and Construction History 1948-2011

Capital Projects History 2006-2016

Capital Projects History 2010-2021