During the school year 1958-1959, Sarpy County School District 43 found itself faced with serious overcrowding in the Giles, Southern Hills and Pleasant Hills schools. With 102 elementary students and 34 secondary students already in the District, they were dismayed to realize that 500 more children would soon be in need of classroom space. A new elementary school was needed immediately.
Thus, on April 1, 1959, Sarpy County School District 43 merged with the Omaha School District, and Robert Gilder School was soon the result of this merger.
The 18-acre site for this new school was once a cornfield over which roamed the famed artist, archaeologist and newspaperman for whom the school is named. Dr. Robert Gilder knew and loved this part of Nebraska. He died in 1940 and Robert Gilder is intended to be a fitting memorial to his name.
Leo A. Daly of Omaha was selected as the architect. The building, which has 33,000 square feet, has three distinct areas for instruction. The primary grade rooms are grouped at the north end of the classroom wing. This section is an integral unit with restroom facilities adjacent to each classroom. Each classroom also has an exterior entrance. There is no hallway in this section and the rooms are connected by a series of doors.
Most intermediate grades are in a section served by a conventional central hall. The multi-purpose room is so interconnected with the school that activities there will not disturb other sections of the school, and participants will not have to enter other parts of the school for after-hours events.
Robert Gilder School was built at a cost of $637,177.00. The school was opened for the fall semester of 1964 with 689 pupils.
Dedication Day was March 14, 1965.
Two paintings by Dr. Robert Gilder were donated to the school. A painting of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, was donated by the Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce. The second painting, "Autumn," was from the Joslyn Art Museum, on loan on a long term basis.