The History of Dodge Literacy Magnet
The decision to build a school on the present site was made at a stormy annual Board meeting around 1938. Board members wanted to build an addition to the existing school, known as Eureka School, but many of the patrons wanted a new school built north of Highway 54 (Maple Street). Both sides enlisted supporters to attend the annual meeting and, because of the tension, sheriff officers were present. Since most of the patrons lived north of the highway, the decision was made in their favor.
The first building on the present site consisted of eight classrooms. The cost, including furnishings, was reported to have been under $50,000. While the building was built for economy, it did have features which were considered ultramodern. The school was even featured in an article in the May 1940 School Board Journal. The building was opened on March 25, 1940, with 225 students in grades 1-8 who transferred from the South Eureka school building. School lunches were served during the early history of the school. The school district was the first, west of the Mississippi, to receive and use surplus commodities in their hot lunch program.
In 1944, a brick structure with four classrooms was added to the site at a reported cost of $28,000. In 1950, four additional classrooms and two rest rooms were added to the brick structure. A second addition consisting of the south eight rooms was added in 1952 at the cost of $60,000.
In 1954, Dodge became a part of the Wichita Public Schools. The school name was changed to the Almon E. Dodge Elementary School. Mr. Dodge, the Wichita pioneer after whom the school was named, homesteaded in west Wichita. His home was on the site of the old Wichita Hospital at Seneca and Douglas. He was also the first justice of the peace of the Delano Township. Mr. Dodge was also construction superintendent of the first bridge across the river south of the city. The site now consisted of a cement building with eight classrooms and a brick building with 16 classrooms. Enrollment was 750 students. Portable classrooms were added in 1954, 1957, 1958 and 1961. In 1966, Title I funds provided an all-electric portable for reading classes. An addition consisting of ten classrooms, rest rooms and a multipurpose room was constructed in 1976. A peak enrollment of 807 was reached in November, 1957. As enrollment grew, seventh and eighth grades were transferred to the south building and the school became an attendance center for grades 1-6.
Beginning with the 1995-1996 school year, Dodge became known as the Dodge-Edison Partnership school. It was the second Edison Partnership School in the country. The school day and year were extended and personal computers were placed in every student’s home.
In June, 2003, the contract with the Edison Project was terminated. On April 14, 2003, the Board of Education approved the name change to Dodge Literacy Magnet School. The goal of the new program was to teach them a love of reading and writing as they explored their full potential in all other curricular areas.
In November, 2008, a School District bond was passed for new school construction and upgrades to facilities. Upon passage of the bond, it was determined that Dodge Literacy Magnet Elementary School would be in Phase 1 of the project and receive an entire new building. Construction of the new building was begun in May 2010 and completed in July of 2011. On August 16, 2011, the ribbon cutting was held for the new building with enrollment around 400 students. The next year, several elementary schools had to be closed in Wichita due to budget concerns. One of the schools closed was Bryant Elementary. The students from Bryant were split among two different schools, Dodge and OK Elementary. Dodge received approximately 150 new students. Since then, Dodge enrollment has continued to stay fairly steady at 580 kids.