The ribbon cutting for the new pre-school (Early Learning Center) last Friday is another milestone for the Mancos school system that started in 1878 with an enlarged chicken coop and a sixteen year old, Lizzie Allen, for the first teacher. The campus has now reached out beyond the boundaries of the school acreage on both the east and the west of what was donated in the early years by George Bauer and Dave Lemmon. The land for football and track also came later.
In 1880, the Mancos School District was organized with finances available amounting to $200. The school had been moved and enlarged by that time and was located inside of the stockade that was located in the area between the Old Mancos Inn and the Opera House.
Things didn't change very much until 1887 when Dave Lemmon donated an acre of land for the school. A two-room building was erected on the east side of that acre. As I've written earlier, that building has had quite a history. Some years later it became the Sloyd Building. It was a library for quite a few years and then stood vacant on the west side of the school property before being sold and now located out northwest of town.
In 1888, things changed big time. George Bauer donated five acres of land and the two-floor lumber Union Hall was constructed near the west side of the school property. The school was capitalized at $4,000 that year. For a few years the lower floor of the Union Hall was used for public gatherings and the upper floor for two schoolrooms.
It wasn't until 1897 that two classrooms were added to the Union Hall. Only a few months after that the school trustees exempted the building from use by the public. The downstairs became two classrooms with a hall and cloakrooms.
In 1901, the school asked for and the public voted in, a school tax of 15 mills. (It was a tough one to handle for both families and businesses but it was accepted without much negativity.) The tax covered the upkeep of the school buildings, and an eight-month term for the school year. The mill levy allowed some upgrades in 1906 that included the addition of one more teacher and the addition of a high school year that brought the classes up to and including the eleventh grade.
In 1907, the twelfth grade was added and in May of 1908 the first graduating class in the county was held in Mancos with six seniors.
In 1909, a bond for $10,000 was voted in to build a two-story high school building made of stone and containing a full basement.
In January 1910, the new high school building was occupied by 7th and 8th graders and four years of high school students. Then in 1922 a large auditorium and five new classrooms were added on.