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District Information

September 08, 2008

HISTORY OF SCHOOLS AT CRAB ORCHARD

    Professor James W. Turner started the Crab Orchard Academy. A 99-year corporation financed it with a capital stock at $2,000 raised by selling 80 shares of stock at $25 each. It was dedicated December 25, 1889, and opened to receive pupils on January 6, 1890.

    The Academy was a 3-room frame building erected on the present Crab Orchard High School site and could accommodate approximately 68 pupils. Two courses of study were offered: a teacher’s course of three years and an academic course of four years for those who desired to continue beyond teacher training. At the end of the second year, pupils were enrolled from all adjacent counties and even from other states.

    The Academy closed in 1913 and the building was used for elementary classes. In 1915 a new two-year high school was organized, and in 1919 it received probationary recognition by the State of Illinois. Eventually, a third year was added, and in 1938 the school received its present status as a fully recognized four-year high school, the Crab Orchard Township High School. This became Crab Orchard High School when Community Unit School District Number 3 was formed in 1952.  

    The original building was destroyed by fire and was replaced in 1937 by a brick building. In 1957 a new gymnasium was added to replace the old one that had been constructed on the south side of the high school. The old gymnasium was converted into classrooms, library, and study hall at the upper level. At the lower level a shop and drafting room were added as well as shower and locker rooms for the new gymnasium. This allowed for increased opportunities, especially in physical and vocational education programs.

     On December 10, 1968, the Unit 3 Board of Education entered into a joint agreement with the other four unit school districts in the county to form the Williamson County Special Education District. The purpose of this cooperative arrangement was to provide comprehensive and efficient special education services to eligible students of the five participating school districts. This joint effort has resulted in one of the most effective, comprehensive, and cost efficient special education programs in the State of Illinois.

    On February 24, 1973, the voters of Community Unit District 3 passed a bond referendum of $720,000 to construct a new grade school on the north side of the existing high school building. This project included ten new elementary academic classrooms, a kindergarten room, a large multi-purpose room (cafeteria), a kitchen area, a general office area, an instructional materials center for grades K-12, additional restrooms, a new boiler room, and remodeling of the older portion of the building to meet regulations pertaining to the Health and Safety Code of Illinois.

    On March 19, 2002, the voters of Community Unit District 3 passed a bond referendum of $1,500,000 to construct a new 7-12 facility on the east side of the elementary building. This project includes new academic classrooms, a new gymnasium, additional restrooms, a new physical plant, and remodeling of the older portion of the building to meet regulations pertaining to the Health and Safety Code of Illinois. Students attended classes in the new high school, for the first time, on October 12, 2004.

    To begin the 2005-06 school year, the Unit 3 Board of Education entered into a joint agreement with the other four unit school districts in the county to form the Williamson County Early Childhood Cooperative. The purpose of this cooperative arrangement was to provide comprehensive and efficient education services to Pre-Kindergarten students of the five participating school districts.

    In addition to basic academic programs for grades 9-12, Crab Orchard High School provides opportunities for vocational training for students here and in cooperation with Marion High School. Future plans include increased vocational opportunities through the Williamson County Regional Vocational Delivery System. New computers and computer-related courses have been added to the curriculum to keep pace with new advances in technology. A guidance program, an Academic Bowl Team that competes with other schools, a cooperative adult secondary education program with John A. Logan College, and a variety of extracurricular activities adds to the well-rounded offerings making C.O.H.S. one of the finest small schools in Illinois.

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