In 1919, to replace the one-room schoolhouse from 1893, a new brick school was built in Iowa. As the community began to grow, so did the need for a larger school, and in 1937, a new school with a gymnasium and a cafeteria replaced the school built eighteen years prior.
In 1958, a new high school was built across the street from the standing school, providing Iowa with an elementary school and a high school.
A new Iowa High School opened its doors in 1968 following a 1966 bond issue. The new high school brought with it the acquisition of a new football field and stadium.
With enrollment steadily multiplying, the old high school building became a junior high facility for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. This first through eighth grade school was named Southside Elementary School, but in 1971, was renamed J.I. Watson after a principal who directed the school from 1921-1952.
With an ever-growing enrollment J.I. Watson needed more classrooms. So in 1986, ground breaking ceremonies were held to honor the start of a new kindergarten and fifth grade building.
In 2015, Iowa High School built a 6th-8th grade campus and J.I. Watson Middle School turned into J.I. Watson Elementary. The North side of campus that previously held 6th-8th grade now holds students grades 3rd-5th and the South side of campus holds Headstart through 2nd grade.
In the 2019-2020 School year, J.I. Watson Celebrated 100 years of the Red Brick 2 story building.Today, J.I. Watson Elementary School has a Head Start Program and PreK through fifth grade.