Rich Central Campus
Rich Central Campus A Brief History of Rich Township High Schools
High School District #227 serves the residents of Country Club Hills, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park, a small section of Chicago Heights and adjoining rural areas in South Cook County. The district was formed from non-high school territory in 1949. Construction of the East Campus of Rich Township High School, financed by a $1,600,000 bond issue, began in September, 1952. Twelve months later it was operating as a four-year high school. During the 1952-53 school year, a ninth grade school was operating in the Faith United Protestant Church in Park Forest, Located on a 55-acre site donated by American Community Builders, Inc., the original building accommodated approximately 750 students.
The East Campus was formally dedicated in December, 1953 by the Secretary of Health, Education and Safety; Mrs. Oveta Club Hobby. It was fully accredited by both the North Central Association and the State of Illinois during the initial year of operation. In 1954, it won, for the municipalities which it serves, the All-American City award, the first ever to be awarded by a school.
In 1955, a $450,000 bond issue financed the addition of 12 classrooms and a gymnasium. This increased the capacity of the school to approximately 1,100 students. In 1957, a $1,050,000 bond issue was passed and the money used to increase the size of the East Campus to accommodate 1,500 to 1,600 students. At the same time, 50 acres of land for a new high school site was purchased in Olympia Fields.
In 1959, a $1,690,000 bond issue was passed to finance building of the initial stage of a new Central Campus in Olympia Fields. The first stage provided facilities for about 700 students. The building has been recognized as one of the "significant schools of the future" in a monograph published by the Ford Foundation. In its July, 1960 issue, The Nation’s Schools carried a cover picture and a ten-page article on the new school under the title, "An Image of the Future in Olympia Fields, IL." In 1960, a bond issue of $225,000 was approved to equip the new school which opened to approximately 425 students in the ninth and tenth grades in September, 1961. At the same time, the East Campus enrolled about 1,600 students.
In 1962, a $1,250,000 bond issue was authorized by voters in the district to build and equip an addition to the Central Campus facility bringing its capacity to 1,500 students. This addition was completed for the opening of school in September 1963.
In 1966, a $2,700,000 bond issue was authorized by voters in the district. $2,500,000 of the bond issue was for the purpose of building and equipping additions to the Central and East Campus facilities. This brings the capacity of the Central Campus to 2,100 students and the East Campus to 1,800 students. $200,000 was used to purchase land for a third high school.
In 1969, a $3,200,000 bond issue was authorized by the voters of the district. $300,000 was to build an addition to the East Campus. This addition consisted of a little theatre and two arts and crafts classrooms. The remaining $2,900,000 was for the purpose of building Rich South High School. Rich South opened at the East Campus for freshmen and sophomores in September of 1972 with an enrollment of 600 students and then moved into the new facilities at the South Campus in January 1973.