Arlington High School (Arlington Heights, Illinois)

Arlington High School (Arlington Heights, Illinois)

Arlington High School was a public high school located in Arlington Heights, Illinois, which operated from 1922 to 1984. It was the flagship school for [ Township High School District 214] which served students in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling, Illinois. District 214 had budget concerns with declining enrollment. The district board members decided to close two schools. Both of the schools that were eventually closed were in Arlington Heights: Arlington High School (closed 1984) and Forest View High School (closed 1986).

The Arlington High School colors were red and white. The mascot was the Arlington Cardinal. The Arlington Homecoming was a significant community event for the Village of Arlington Heights and had elaborate homecoming festivities with red and white mums, a parade through downtown Arlington Heights with class contests for best float, a Friday night football game and a homecoming dance on Saturday night.


The closing of Arlington High School was a significant community event in 1983 and 1984, which embattled residents of [ District 214] who did not want to see their high schools close. The school district administration completed its first report in April 1981 to the District 214 Board of Education stating that one of eight high schools should close by 1983 due to declining enrollment. Weeks later a report was submitted that two high schools should close by the 1985-1986 school year. Residents responded by presenting arguments to support their own schools. Pro-Arlington supporters declared that Arlington, being the flagship school, had an important community tradition and an important location near downtown Arlington Heights that helped develop and maintain community values and support downtown businesses. Arlington supporters also declared that Arlington had dense residential surroundings, which allowed most students to walk to school. Arlington supporters also underscored the benefit of the agreement with the [ Arlington Heights Park District] to use the swimming pool, which was across the street from the high school, for education and competitive swimming events. Only [ Wheeling] and [ Buffalo Grove High School] , which were not at risk of closure, had swimming pools.

In April, 1982 a computer study listed [ Rolling Meadows] , [ John Hersey High School] , Forest View and [ Prospect High School] (in order) as the most likely schools to be closed. Non-Arlington High School residents sought to keep their schools open by declaring that Arlington High School was the oldest school and the most expensive to maintain and remodel. They even cited a tragic accident in 1971, when a brick partition wall in a bathroom collapsed when three male students (trapped in the bathroom) braced themselves to open a door that had been secured by a piece of wood as a prank. One of the students eventually died from his serious injuries. The partitions were immediately re-designed for safety reasons.

On May 3, 1982 District 214 adjusted data for a computer study and corrected the target list for school closures: [ John Hersey High School] , Arlington and [ Prospect High School] . On May 17, 1982 the District 214 board voted (5-2) to close Arlington High School. 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). Eventually a lawsuit was filed by five Arlington Heights residents and ACT against District 214, charging the board ignored facts from its own studies (November 18, 1982).

In the subsequent lawsuit, 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 states that the board created standards to follow in the closing of schools and then failed to follow them (May 26, 1983). District 214 appealed on June 1, 1983, but Arlington High School freshmen still enrolled in the Fall of 1983.

On the second day of the new school year in 1983, 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, 1983).

In May, 1984 District 214 put Arlington High School up for sale and then for auction. Arlington High School closed its doors to public high school students in June, 1984. The following year in April, [ Christian Liberty Academy] of Prospect Heights purchased Arlington High School for $1.51 million. The building is currently used for grade school and high school education and includes a church.

Decades later, Cristian Liberty Academy enjoys the central location of the former Arlington High School building near public rail transportation and downtown Arlington Heights. Also decades later, in response to increasing enrollment and modernization needs, District 214 spent over $100 million to expand and upgrade its remaining six high schools.


*Interior and exterior scenes from the 1986 film "Lucas" starring Charlie Sheen and Corey Haim were shot at the school during the summer immediately after its closing, including some scenes with the Prospect High School Marching Band which at that point contained former Arlington students.

External links

* [ Illinois High School Glory Days -- a record of high schools closed in Illinois]

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