About / History
About / History
Norris School District
The school campus is centrally located with the district on 270 acres at the intersection of 68th Street and Princeton Road, twelve miles south of Lincoln. The site consists of the Elementary, Middle School, and High School buildings; bus barn, paved parking areas, outdoor athletic and activity fields, cross-country course, and all-weather running track.
The 2009-2010 enrollment is 2,033 – 770 in the Elementary (PK-4), 641 in the Middle School (5-8), and 598 in the High School (9-12)
The school district is divided into six wards with approximately 1250 residents per ward for a total school district population of approximately 7500. Candidates file by ward, to assure representation from the various geographic areas on the Board of education, and are elected by the voters of the entire Norris School District.
The Norris School District is primarily rural residential, small town, and agricultural in nature. Many Norris residents are employed in Lincoln. As the Lincoln area continues to grow to the south and east, the population of the Norris District is expected to continue to increase steadily.
The racial and ethnic background is predominately white Anglo-Saxon. Many of the original inhabitants of the southeast portion of the district were of Dutch descent. There is a fairly strong religious influence in the school district which includes Dutch Reform, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, and several other denominations.
Today, the Norris School system is organized on a pre-K-4, 5-8, 9-12 basis.
The Norris School District is accredited by the Nebraska State Department of Education. All three buildings are also accredited by the North Central Association.
Before construction of the present facilities, grades 10-12 were held in Cortland, grades 7-9 in Hickman, and the elementary grades in Firth, Roca, and Panama. A bond issue was passed in April of 1967 to build an elementary and junior/senior high school building. The elementary building was ready for occupancy in the fall of 1969. Classes moved into the new junior/senior high facility in February of 1970. Several additions have been added to these buildings since the original construction was completed:
1. A 14,000square foot addition to the junior/senior high school which included more area for industrial arts, music, and family and consumer science classes plus several additional was constructed in 1974.
2. A middle school addition consisting of office space, library, gymnasium and locker rooms, faculty room, and ten classrooms was added adjacent to the north side of the secondary building in 1979.
3. Another bond issue was passed in the fall of 1988 to add five additional classrooms to the elementary building, expand the high school industrial arts area, add five additional classrooms to the high school building plus a 700 seat auditorium.
4. Outdoor athletic improvements including an all weather track were approved by a bond issue in 1990.
5. The Board of Education used building fund money to finance another addition to the southwest corner of the elementary building in 1993. This addition houses pre-school and special education programs and includes several office areas.
6. Two more bond issues were approved in the fall of 1996 to add a gymnasium and art room onto the elementary building and 6 classrooms, central office space, distance learning laboratory, and industrial technology facilities to the east side of the high school building.
7. In the fall of 2000, another bond issue was passed by residents of the district to add 10 classrooms onto the north side of the elementary building to house an , all-day everyday kindergarten program as well as additional classrooms for primary grades and interior remodeling of the library/media and office areas and original kindergarten classrooms.
Norris District patrons passed an $8.6 million bond issue on May 11, 2004 for the construction of new Middle School. That building was completed in the summer of 2006, opened for the school year 2006-07, housing approximately 600 students in grades 5-8. The Elementary now houses grades PK-4, and the former secondary building is now a 9-12 High School.
The Norris facilities suffered a devastating blow on May 22, 2004, when an F4 tornado tore through the campus. Reconstruction took more than 20 months, at a cost just over $35 million. Through rapid reconstruction and use of portable classrooms, the schools were reopened the day after Labor Day in 2004. Despite the sacrifices and inconveniences, the Norris school facilities ultimately emerged better than ever. Outdoor stadium facilities, rest rooms, concession building, and the bus barn, all destroyed in the tornado, were rebuilt as great improvements over the previous facilities. The school buildings themselves, during reconstruction, were totally rewired with all-new lighting, new ceilings, new floor coverings, and much more. The auditorium was expanded to include a storage/set construction area.
Space usage in the Secondary Building was reconfigured to mesh with the changes that would be coming with the completion of the new Middle School and conversion of the existing facility to a High School. The music rooms were reconfigured and enlarged.
The destroyed parking lot lighting was replaced with much improved lighting. Most of the trees were destroyed by the tornado, and are being replaced via a new landscaping plan and program.
The technology available to students and staff members within the school district is excellent. There are two technology coordinators, one computer for every three students, all classrooms have one or more computers which are Internet accessible, a distance learning laboratory provides access to instruction from outside the school district, all staff members have ready access to an enhanced phone system with voice mailboxes, a local area network provides numerous software programs to all employees and allows easy access via e-mail, an extensive district website (www.norris160.org) provides valuable information to parents, district patrons, and other interested persons, and the availability of digital cameras, portable distance learning carts, scanners, video production classes, graphic arts classes, web publishing classes, Cisco Academy, Palm Pilots all enhance the educational capabilities of the school district.