In January 1876, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Scully sold an acre of land to a township known today as Delano for $15. On this acre of ground OK School, County School District No. 5, was established. The first school house was a small white frame structure in which A.H. Maxwell taught a three-month term in 1877. On May 24, 1890, the first graduation exercises in the district were held for the three young women who received their diplomas.
Where did OK get its name? No one knows exactly. One rumor is that it was named for a man whose first name could have been O.K. Another is that it could have been named for the township which may have been known as OK at that time.
In 1924, the first building was torn down, and two rooms with a basement were built to replace it. In 1930, widow Sarah A. Sprankle gave additional land to the school district, and four classrooms, an auditorium, kitchen and restrooms were added. After World War II the northwest area began to build up quickly. A new auditorium, an office, two restrooms and four classrooms were added in 1948. In 1952, six classrooms and two restrooms in the west wing were built.
The school remained a county school until 1956 when it was attached to the Wichita school system. At that time the district was divided, with some students being sent to Bryant and some to Garrison while the remainder stayed at OK.
In 1964, extensive remodeling was completed which provided an outer office, principal's office, nurse's room and teachers' lounge. In 1967, the library was expanded and remodeled with the installation of a multimedia center which provided a wider range in teaching technology.
In November 1974, a $30 million bond issue was approved by the citizens of Wichita. With funds from the sale of the bonds, OK School received six new classrooms, restrooms, a commons area and an extension to the library. Construction was completed in August 1976, and the new classrooms were in full use at the beginning of the 1976-77 school term.
At the beginning of the 1988-89 year, sixth grade students were incorporated into the middle school program, leaving a K-5 enrollment of around 300.
In April 2000, the voters of the Wichita School District approved a $284.5 million bond issue. The projects began in the fall of 2000 and were completed over the next five years. The plan built 19 multipurpose rooms, upgraded science labs, replaced portable classrooms with permanent construction, improved handicap accessibility to all buildings, rebuilt five existing elementary schools, added a new elementary and middle school, expanded seven other elementary schools and provided nine new libraries as well as the expansion of nine others. Building infrastructure in 82 buildings was also upgraded, including the replacement of antiquated plumbing, updates and expansion of electrical systems, replacement of inefficient or broken windows and doors, upgrades of heating and cooling systems, and asbestos abatement when required.
At the beginning of the 2002-03 school year, a new wing was added to OK Elementary. This new wing was part of the district bond project. Added to our building were 10 new classrooms, a computer lab, a new commons area, a full-size gym and a kitchen. All rooms throughout the building were air conditioned. The old gym and one wing with old classrooms were demolished in the summer of 2005, and a new front to the building was constructed.
The district used money from the Bond issue, FEMA and Capital Outlay to complete OK's bond construction. Howard and Helmer Architects, P.A. and Bauer & Son Construction, Inc. were involved in this project. The Bond project dedication ceremony was held September 17, 2002. In the summer of 2009, permanent walls were constructed for the classrooms that were built in 1976. Bauer & Son Construction, Inc. completed the project.
(Page 40 of 85 Excerpts from History of Wichita Public Schools Buildings).
OK Elementary has continued to expand with a subsequent bond issue adding 3 additional classrooms, a beautiful Library/Media center, and remodeling of existing classrooms and entrance for a new art room, main entrance, restrooms, and administrative spaces. The most recent Bond project was dedicated in January of 2014.