Eugene Field Elementary History
Eugene Field school was built in 1904 as a four room school house. Two rooms were located on the first floor and the other two were on the second floor. The building was located on West 4th street near Oronogo street. Its architect was A. C. Michaelis of Joplin, who received a fee of three percent of the construction cost of $8100, bid by H. F. Strange. The four lots on West Fourth street were purchased at a total cost of $875. The contract for the first four room Eugene Field building was signed June 22, 1904, and the school board formally accepted the building on December 20 that year.
The first teachers assigned to the original Eugene Field school were Alma Jones, Viola Davis, Pearl Hobart and Martha Helm.
The school was enlarged in 1906 to an eight room school house. The school board asked voter approval of a $20,000 bond issue for that addition and for four other school rooms at another school. Upon an affirmative vote of taxpayers, Michaelis again was selected as architect two and one-half percent of the construction cost of the Eugene Field's four room addition, which amounted to $7744.69 on a bid of the Lillard Planing Mill Company of Joplin.
Teachers assigned to the enlarged Eugene Field for the 1906-1907 school term included Miss Martha Helm, principal, Enid Johnson, Ethel Bailey, Pearl Hobart, Elizabeth Jaccard, Jessie Cary, Florence Glenn and Viola Davis.
This school served the community until October 18, 1954 when the new Eugene Field School opened it's doors. The old Eugene Field was the last two-story elementary school structure to be replaced by a modern school.
In 1952, Webb City voters approved a bond issue of $180,000 for a building program that was to include a new auditorium and gymnasium for the high school and a new elementary building. An additional bond issue of $40,000 was approved by voters in January 1954, making a total of $220,000 available for the building program.
The approximately three and one-half acre site of the new Eugene Field school was purchased at a price of $7000 in August 1953. It is located on Oronogo street, between 5th and 6th streets. The contract for the new building's construction was signed on January 8, 1954, with a time limit of 270 days. A ground breaking ceremony was held on February 4, 1954. The building was erected by the Bryce J. Davis Construction Company of Fayetteville, Arkansas, under the direction of Don Karnes of Bissman & Matthews architects, Springfield. The building was constructed according to copyrighted designs of T. E. Shelton, Fayetteville architect, creator of the "Maximlite school." In its approximate 17,000 square feet, the new building has, in addition to 10 classrooms, a 32-foot by 50-foot general purpose room, with stage and storage area, a private office, general office, supply storage room, a health room, teachers lounge, library, janitor's room and two central toilets. Total construction price was $117,045.64. This school building continues to serve the Webb City community today.
Teachers assigned to Eugene Field school in 1954 were: Mrs. Dorsey Watson, principal, Mrs. Carrie L. Bull, Mrs. Cecille Weir, Mrs. Merle Hickam, Mrs. Ann Wommack, Mrs. Marie Etter, Mrs. Mildred H. Toomey, Mrs. Arvilla T. Jenkins and Mrs. Josie Collings.
Board of Education members who served on the building committee to carry out the building program were: Irving H. Merry, president, Lynn R. Whitworth, Otto H. Toutz, T. Chester Roney, R. J. Baker and Walter A. Leib. Whitworth was president of the board when the building program was started in 1952, and James V. Reynolds, a board member then, was replaced by Leib in the 1954 school election.
Two classrooms were added in 1961 due to the large enrollment at the school. Kindergarten classes were established in 1963 in the Webb City School District with students from the Mark Twain district attending classes at the Franklin School. The first grade students were moved to the new first grade center at Webster School in 1983. This change allowed for smaller class sizes. In 1988 five classrooms were added to replace trailers that were being used as classrooms. A new sixth grade wing was added to the Webb City Junior High school in 1993. All sixth graders were sent to classes there for the 1993-1994 school term leaving Eugene Field with the second through fifth grades. The second grades were moved to the new Webster Primary Center in 1996 and the fifth grade classes were moved to the Middle School in 1999. Eugene Field currently serves as a fourth grade center.