Built and Closed in Controversy and Turmoil --
1922 the Board of Education adopted it first plans for
Arlington High School after a tumultuous start* of High
School District 214 in 1914. The architect was J.N. Coleman
of Chicago, who died two months after signing the contract
with the Board. Construction was completed in 1923 at a cost
just above $100,000. The new Township High School Building
was placed 200 feet back from Euclid Avenue, with its main
entrance facing Euclid. The building was designed for a
capacity enrollment of 250 students. A gymnasium, study
hall, stage, laboratories and 21 classrooms were all
included. District student enrollment was 101.
In 1928 the first addition was erected, which is now the
east central area of the present building. Cost $125,000.
District student enrollment was 251.
In 1939 addition PWA Project 2000T. Public Works
(a P.W.A. project during the Great Depression). The wing is
hard to recognize in the current building. One wing on Ridge
Avenue and one on Walnut Avenue are each now located in the
middle of the building (Grace Gym and shops to the north;
and the library, Bristol Theater, and Circle Drive wings to
the south). The library and Circle Drive expansion to the
south of the wings change the look of the doorway entrance.
District student enrollment was 517.
In 1946 the shop wing in the northeast area of the building
was added at a cost of $260,000. Also, lights were added to
the football field in 1946. District student enrollment was
In 1949 construction was approved for a boy's gymnasium,
homemaking rooms, choral and band rooms, and a cafeteria
(the current Grace Gym area). The addition was completed and
the new gym was dedicated on May 18, 1952. District student
enrollment was 1,169.
In 1955 voters approved bond issue of $1,250,00 for a major
addition and renovation. A large portion of the original
structure was torn down because of bad mortar. Much of what
was left standing was surrounded by the new addition, which
included a new band room, the sunken gym, the library, what
became the girl's gym, and the two wings which project
toward the Circle Drive. Open House and dedication for the
new addition was on November 10-11, 1956. The official name
changed from Arlington Heights Township High School to
Arlington High School in 1956. District student enrollment
the Cardinal Seal was installed in the floor of the Grace
late 1960's the Fighting Cardinal (above) was painted left
of the main stage in the main gym.
In 1967 the main gym was renamed "Grace Gymnasium" dedicated
in honor of Athletic Director "Pappy" Grace. District
student enrollment was over 10,000 students with the opening
of Prospect (1957), Forest View (1962), Wheeling (1964) and
Elk Grove (1966).
In the late 1970's, the Dragon was painted outside the
original gym, which was known as the Dragon Gym as well as
the Girl's Gym. District student enrollment was over 19,000
with the opening of Hersey (1968), Rolling Meadows (1971)
and Buffalo Grove (1973).
In 1975 District 214's student enrollment peaked at 19,823
students for the 1975-76 school year.
In 1980 Arlington High School underwent an entire
renovation, including new light fixtures, safety
accommodations, re-painting, and new carpeting in hallways
In 1981 the District 214 board announced that two high
schools would close by the 1985-86 school year. Red ribbons
were tied around trees to symbolize support for Arlington
In 1982 District 214 voted (5-2) to close Arlington High
School (May 17, 1982). A group of Arlington High School
parents formed the Assembly of Citizens and Taxpayers (ACT)
to study the possibility of seceding from District 214 and
forming their own district (August, 1982).
A lawsuit was filed by five Arlington Heights residents and
the Assembly of Citizens and Taxpayers against District 214,
charging the board ignored facts from its own studies
(November 18, 1982).
In 1983 District 214 planner Howard Feddema testified that
board member Donald Hoeck called him to ask that a computer
study's data be manipulated to have Arlington High School
move to the top as the candidate for closing. Hoeck replied
that he was only trying to demonstrate that numbers could be
manipulated many ways (March 10 and 11, 1983).
Circuit Court Judge James C. Murray overturned the District
214 decision to close Arlington High School. Judge Murray's
opinion stated that the board created standards to follow in
the closing of schools and then failed to follow them (May
26, 1983). District 214 appealed (June 1, 1983), but
Arlington High School freshmen were enrolled at Arlington in
the Fall of 1983.
On the second day of the new school year, Illinois Appellate
Court (Justices James J. Mejda, Kenneth E. Wilson and
Francis S. Lorenz) overturned Cook County Judge James
Murray's ruling blocking the closing of Arlington High
School. The Appellate Court stated that they "cannot
question the wisdom of the final action. Right or wrong it
is the decision the board adopted as a quasi-legislative
function within its powers ..." and that the court is
"unable to say that the ultimate decision itself, the
decision to close Arlington and reassign the freshmen
students was so palpably arbitrary, capricious or
unreasonable as to render it null and void (August 31,
In 1984 Arlington High School was appraised at no higher
than $1 million with little value attached to the actual
building (April, 1984). District student enrollment was
District 214 put Arlington High School up for sale and then
for auction (May, 1984).
In 1985 Christian Liberty Academy from Prospect Heights
outbid Roosevelt University by $10,000. Arlington High
School was sold to Christian Liberty Academy for $1.51
million (April, 1985).
Over 500 trophies and over 500 pictures were dispersed --
given to students, coaches, and former coaches after
Arlington High School closed.
An election in 1914 for the decision to create High School
District 214 was controversial in the predominantly farming
community that characterized the Arlington Heights area.
Opposition to the proposition was strong with over 1200
people voting. Because the Women's Suffrage Act had not been
validated by the Illinois Supreme Court, the men's and
women's ballots were separated. More men voted against the
proposition, but the women's vote would approve the district
by a margin of 16 votes if counted. The opposition claimed
the proposition lost by one vote with 17 blank ballots.
Eventually, the Supreme Court validated the election with
the women's votes, the Women's Suffrage Act, and the
creation of Township High School District 214. Illinois
became the first state east of the Mississippi River to
allow women the right to vote in presidential elections.
established by EO 6174, June 16, 1933, pursuant to the
National Industrial Recovery Act (48 Stat. 200), same date,
to prepare a comprehensive public works program. Renamed PWA
and placed under Federal Works Agency, coordinating agency
for federal public works activities, by Reorganization Plan
No. I of 1939, effective July 1, 1939. PWA abolished,
Archives and Records Administration: Records of the Public
Mickey Horndasch, Curator, Arlington Heights Historical
Museum contributed to this article. Other sources:
High School District 214.
with District Milestones
(Presented by year with enrollment in parentheses)*
Arlington High School opened (originally named Arlington
Heights Township High School)
Arlington High School first addition
Arlington High School second addition
Arlington High School shop wing addition
Arlington High School addition for new gymnasium, cafeteria
Arlington High School addition (named Grace Gym in
Arlington High School addition of band room, sunken gym and
two wings of circle drive. (Name change from Arlington
Heights Township High School to Arlington High
Prospect High School opened (originally freshmen sophomores
only went Prospect and junior and seniors went to
Forest View High School opened
Wheeling High School opened
Elk Grove High School opened
John Hersey High School opened
Rolling Meadows High School
Buffalo Grove High School opened
Enrollment for all of District 214 peaked during this school
Arlington High School closed
Forest View High School closed
Edward Gilbert Administrative Complex dedicated
Maryville Education Center/Nipper School (MEC)
STEP becomes Forest View Alternative School
MEC / Nipper School becomes Nipper Career Education
Vanguard School opened
Newcomer Center opened
Nipper Career Education Center closed
enrollment figures may vary during the course of the school