History of the Bruning Building
The original district number 63 contained Bruning and was formed on December 30, 1881. The original 16×16 feet, one-room schoolhouse was built in April of 1882. The school was first in session on the 1st of May of the same year.
In 1884, a meeting was held and the consensus was to build an addition of 8 feet to the schoolhouse.
On February of 1891, the new combined district 94 (a very small district of only two and a half sections, 62, 46, and 63) built a one-room schoolhouse in Bruning. Some accounts say it was built in the same place as the Lutheran Church. Others say it was built on the present-day school grounds.
In 1894, it was decided to build a two-story brick schoolhouse. The building was supposed to be four rooms. The fourth room was not finished until 1905 and was used for a number of years as the town band’s practice room.
At the time students had to furnish their own ink, pens, pencils, and paper. Later on, the school provided pencils and paper but in limited supply. Every student was very conservative with their use of pencils and paper.
In the winters the rooms of the brick schoolhouse were heated by one small potbellied stove. The children would huddle around the stove and it would be noon on the coldest of days before the room would reach a comfortable temperature and the children could return to their seats. Often times the student’s ink bottles would freeze and burst at their seats. Later jacketed furnaces were added and they made the rooms much more comfortable.
In 1905, The need for an extra classroom arose. The fourth room, used as the town bands practice room, was finished and used for teaching instead.
In 1920, a four-year high school course was offered for the first time. Before this change, students had to go to Geneva or Hebron to finish High School and graduate. The enrollment skyrocketed at this point because of the newly offered four-year course. In 1921, a new two-room grade school was built to make extra room in the school. The 1930s brought drought and depression. Taxes couldn’t be paid and it wasn’t long before the money that paid the teachers’ salaries was gone. Times got so bad warrants had to be issued and sold to banks or someone that would buy them. The school board had to ask the teachers to take a reduced salary.
The 1940s that brought the drought declined and the crops improved. The better crops led to taxes getting paid and salaries coming back. The state fire marshal condemned the old two-story building in the latter part of the decade, and plans were arranged for another school building.
The new schoolhouse was built in 1951. The old two-story brick building was sold and torn down. The new school building was dedicated on April 23, 1952. The two-room grade school was sold and remodeled into a duplex. There were several country school districts closed and the students were sent to Bruning in 1953. Nineteen-fifty-four was the year the bus routes started to pick up the country kids from the rural districts. Due to the extra students and a statewide redistricting program, there was an addition put on to the school on the east side of the building in 1955. School lunches also started this year.