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Linn-Mar  High School

School History

On February 1, 1959 thirty-eight acres, just north of the Main Elementary building (LRC), were purchased for $30,000 from Carl Wallace on which the district’s new high school was to be constructed. Ground was broken on April 13. To reduce costs and speed construction, some 15 farmers in the district began leveling operations on the 19 acre site, using their own equipment and receiving no pay.

The building, Iowa’s first electrically heated school, contained seven general classrooms, science, homemaking and music rooms plus a library, workshop and an administrative office.

The school opened the first week of September 1959 with 13 teachers, 19 seniors, 27 juniors, 39 sophomores and 34 freshmen.

A contest was held within the district to select a name for the school. Sharon Oftedahl, an 8th grade student, submitted the entry of Linn-Mar High School earning her a $25 savings bond awarded by the Iowa Electric Light and Power Company. “Lion” was chosen as the school nickname and mascot.

In April 1960, a bond issue of $85,000 was approved for the first addition to the school. At the time, there were more than 770 total students in the district.

June 1960 marked the high school’s first graduation ceremony where 19 seniors were honored.

By the following year, classrooms were added for 7th and 8th grade students, in the area that is now home to the recently renovated Family and Consumer Science classrooms.

By 1962, the Design, Engineering and Materials wing of the building was added.

In 1966, more classrooms, a new gymnasium with lower level locker rooms, a concession stand, new restrooms and expanded offices were added near the front entrance of the building.  That area is now known as the “Four Corners”. The 1966 gym is now the home of the Learning Center. Prior to 1966, all indoor athletic events took place in the present LRC gym.

On May 1, 1967, 20 acres of land was purchased to allow for an expansion to the high school.

The west foyer, now the known as the Nurse’s Office, Math classrooms, Upper Commons Library were constructed.

In 1969, The high school celebrated it’s tenth year, enrollment had risen to 525. The high school faculty increased to 40.  That same year, another 64 acres were purchased north of the high school for future expansion.

In 1974, A new auditorium, now known as the Little Theatre was constructed. New IMC (Instructional Material Center) spaces were completed for the high school and junior high. That construction allowed the two buildings to be connected as one, becoming the high school building we know today.

In 1980, Another major classroom addition brought new classrooms to the south side of the building.

In 1999, The middle school students moved to the present Excelsior building. A 2,000 seat gymnasium and 850 seat Auditorium were added to the High School.  The 1966 gym became the high school Media Center.

In 2006, The Colton Center was added to the north side of the building behind the Auditorium. The band and vocal music rooms were moved from the east side of the building, the rooms are currently used for Social Studies classes.

In 2010, the former Junior High, the south end of the high school, was remodeled. The former office area became a video production center.

From 2011 through 2013, several improvements were made to the High School campus.

The District’s Maintenance and Transportation building and the Educational Services Center,  located north of the High School, were demolished.  

The flood-prone Armstrong Field (behind Indian Creek elementary) was replaced with the Linn-Mar Multi-Purpose Stadium.

The Linn-Mar Aquatic Center was constructed to the east of the stadium, on the site of the former High School Baseball Field.

The baseball and softball fields were then relocated to the Oak Ridge Middle School campus.

In 2015, the Board of Education approved a plan for an extensive renovation and building expansion.  Much of the original 1959 building, with its small classrooms and outdated climate-control system, was demolished.

The project brought updated and tech-ready classrooms, new science labs, updated art studios, career-oriented family and consumer science labs, an improved fitness and wellness center, a new orchestra room and new collaborative learning spaces.

Energy-efficient lighting and doors were added throughout the building.

    • 1959 – Linn-Mar High School (9-12) was built
    • 1961 – East wing classrooms added to provide space for grades 7 & 8.
    • 1962 – Industrial Education Shop and 10 classrooms added
    • 1962 – Football Field and Track added behind Indian Creek Elementary
    • 1966 – Gymnasium (now the Learning Center), Classrooms and offices added.
    • 1967 – West foyer added
    • 1974 – High School and Junior High School were connected
    • 1980 – Classroom addition
    • 1999 – New Gymnasium and Auditorium added
    • 2006 – Colton Center added
    • 2010 – Classroom renovation-Video Production Studio added
    • 2011 – Linn-Mar Stadium constructed
    • 2012 – Aquatic Center constructed
    • 2013 – Baseball/Softball Complex constructed on the Oak Ridge Campus
    • 2016 – Classroom additions, Commons spaces added, extensive renovation

Today, Linn-Mar High School is home to 2,164 students, including the COMPASS Alternative High School Program. LMHS is under the leadership of Principal Jeff Gustason and a staff of more than 200.