By Jennifer Gully
The Paynesville school has always been an important aspect to our community. It is used to educate and show our community unity.
Paynesville started building a community school in 1859, but before it was completed it was blown down in a windstorm. A second attempt to build a school was made in the spring of 1862, and this time a frame school house was built. Yet again it was destroyed in September 1862 when settlers used it as a side of a fort to protect them from the Indian outbreak.
In 1896, a third school was built that was north of the present elementary school. It had five rooms and six stoves. Unfortunately it burned down in May 1911.
A school was built in October 1912 for $40,000 where the current elementary school is located. Finally, the school was not accidentally destroyed. This school was used for grades K-12. An addition was built to the west end of the school in 1941. It included a band room, auditorium, and various other classrooms. This is where the current fourth and fifth grade classrooms are today.
Another addition was built in 1956 to the east end of the building for $328,000. This addition included eight classrooms, a kindergarten, and an auditorium.
A new high school, still in use, was built in 1969 because of the growing class sizes.
In the fall of 1992 a new middle school was built as an addition to the east side of the high school. The addition included a media center, computer lab, various classrooms, a gymnasium, and lockerrooms. It is used for grades six through eight.
The elementary school also was remodeled by having the 1912 school building removed because it was a safety concern. A media center, computer lab, and new district office took its place. The elementary construction was completed in the fall of 1993.
In the spring of 2001 an auditorium and fitness center were added to the north side of the high school. The auditorium is used for many fine arts events, and the fitness center is used by students and people in the community.
In 2001, Paynesville Area High School installed security cameras to ensure the safety of our students.
Before busing, rural students were unable to get a ride into town everyday, so there were many country schools in the area. These small schools merged into the Paynesville Area School District in the 1960s.
The Paynesville Area Historical Museum has the Brown Schoolhouse, which is set up like an old country school. We also have many Paynesville school artifacts.