In 1926, even though the city of Borger had not yet been formally organized, some of the citizens petitioned the Hutchinson County Commissioners Court to incorporate an independent school system. Borger I.S.D. was officially organized on Jul. 28, 1926, serving an area of 22 square miles. While plans were being made for five brick school buildings, temporary buildings were used for the 1926 school year which numbered 19 teachers and about 1,000 students. during the first year, no city taxes were available, so the citizens and businessmen of Borger contributed to pay the teachers' salaries.Recorded Texas Historical Landmark
On Nov. 15, 1926, H.H. Shell and son from Lubbock were chosen as contractor, and M.C. Butler from Oklahoma City was chosen as architect for the city's schools. In 1927, East Ward, West Ward, Weatherly, Borger High School, and a gymnasium were erected. East Ward housed 200 pupils and was a brick and tile structure with five classrooms, a study hall, and an office. Of the original buildings, East Ward is the only one still standing.
As the population of Borger grew, particularly during World War II, so did the schools. East Ward and Weatherly both saw additions including classrooms, a cafeteria, and auditoriums. In 1957, East Ward was renamed James Bowie Elementary. In July 1965, Booker T. Washington School, a school for African Americans, was closed, and students were transferred to James Bowie Elementary, which became a fully integrated school in the fall of 1965. In 1966, the school was converted into a central administrative building.