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History of Simms ISD

History Of Simms ISD

James Bowie School District was a result of the consolidation of five smaller schools in southwestern Bowie County. At the time the consolidation occurred, the district was known as the Simms Consolidated School District. The land for the school was donated by the Simms Brothers, J. H. (Harv) and Lem. Construction on the main building, which now serves as the Middle School, began in 1935. The construction of the main building was done by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), an organization funded by the Federal Government in the 1930's under President Franklin Roosevelt. It was built with native stone from the Simms Estate located near the school's location. The building was completed late in 1935. In 1937-38, the first gym was built and the houses and the water tower were also completed. The houses located on the campus were an added attraction for the school when hiring teachers. The gym was one of the first high school gyms in Bowie County. It was destroyed by fire in 1970. The first seven students graduated from James Bowie were in 1937. At the beginning of the 1936-37 school year, the district was still called Simms, however, shortly after that, Mr. Harv Simms requested that the district name be changed to James Bowie in honor of the Texas Revolution hero.


Synopsis of J. B.


  • In 1939, the football stadium, gymnasium, teacher's houses and water tower were completed.
  • In 1947, the Elementary Building was added on the west side of the main building.
  • In 1970, the original gym burned.
  • In 1972, a replacement gym was built.
  • In 1979, the building was renovated to make it more energy efficient. The large classroom windows were covered and rocked in, the ceiling was dropped, window air conditioners were added and carpet covered the wood floors.
  • In 1986, a new modern auditorium (Otis Fox Auditorium) was completed.
  • In 1991, a new building housing a Library, Computer and Science Labs were finished.
  • In 1997, a cafeteria was constructed behind the Main Building.
  • In 1999, a new multi use building consisting of a gym and band hall was constructed beside the football field.
  • In 2003, new additions were added to the Library/Computer Science building to make it the New High School so that the Jr. High and the High School could be separated. A new addition was also added to the Elementary to eliminate the portable buildings. The original main building now houses the Jr. High.
  • In 2007, the cottages were renovated with new windows and roof. New ceiling mount projectors were installed to replace TV's in classrooms. Parking lots were resurfaced and added to the district.
  • In 2009, the original James Bowie School building was refurbish back to its original state. The building had extensive termite damage, plumbing and electrical needs. In addressing those, the old building was brought back to the original floors, new energy efficient window replacements that looked like the old ones were installed and the plaster walls were revealed and patched. All the plumbing, electrical and networking cables were updated at that time .
  • In 2012, the original James Bowie Elementary building was refurbished back to it's original state but with the addition of plumbing, electrical and technical updates. The hall floor was restored to its wood glory, new bathrooms and a new entry way was added.