The first schoolhouse in Harrisburg was built in 1894. A group of local supporters petitioned the County Superintendent of Schools to detach a portion of the districts No. 48, 44, 28 and 57 to form a new school district [then] known as District No. 91. The first teachers was Miss Maud Brown. Due to the growing population, an additional school was built in 1901 and high school was included in the course of study. May Davis, who taught the first six grades, was the first teacher in this new school. Professor Herbert Brown had the six upper grades.
In 1908 the main building was constructed at an estimated cost of $25,000. Only the first floor was used at this time. Estella Sutton and Mariam Gault were the first girls and the first students to graduate from high school in May, 1912.
Previous to the construction of the main building, four other buildings besides the small school were used to accommodate the school needs. One of these was the old frame store located directly across the street from Brecht's Garage. This housed the 7th and 8th grades. The second floor of the Opera House, which is above Loof's Market, was used for classes of general shop and basketball. The Theater Building, a structure that once stood between Brewer's Drug Store and Gray's Barber Shop, was used for plays, declamatory, musicals, commencement exercises and other school activities. The Town Hall was also used as a classroom.
Iin 1938, a proposed addition was being voted upon. This was to include a gymnasium-auditorium and two additional classrooms. It was a WPA project subject to Bond Election which was to amount $15,000 but came to $18,000. These were payable in yearly installments, the last which matured on January 1, 1953. The second floor of this addition has a student assembly and library. The total cost of both floors amounted to $45,000. Three bus routes were set up, the buses being drawn by horses at first. Enrollment in 1939 was 93 in the high school and 85 grade pupils. [As of 1952, there were] 71 high school students and 108 grade school students.
In 1956 plans were made for additional classroom space. On December 12, 1956 the voters of the Harrisburg School District voted to pass a bond issue for elementary classrooms. The facility was completed and occupied by students by August 1973.
In 1969 plans were made by the school board to ask the voters to approve a bond issue for a new high school. The issue passed and the facility was completed and occupied by August 1973.
In 1979 plans were made by the school board for an additional apace for elementary, junior high, science and dining room facilities. The facility was ready for student occupancy by August 1980.
As of August 1983, the school [had an] enrollment of 569 pupils.
In 2018, the school district comprised of nine buildings spread between Harrisburg proper and southern Sioux Falls, over 4,527 students, with class sizes reaching over 430 students.
The Harrisburg School District continues to grow leaps and bounds!
Partially adapted from The History of Lincoln County, Provided by the Lincoln Country Auditor's Office