Located in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, Lemont High School serves the Village of Lemont and portions of Darien, Downers Grove and Woodridge.
In the Beginning
Though a surviving document identifies graduates in 1891, Lemont High School did not truly form until 1906, when five students - four girls and one boy - began meeting for class in the school building at 410 McCarthy Road (which eventually became a grade school known as Central School). The high school leased three rooms there at a rate of $500 per year.
Several attempts to build Lemont High School failed in the early 1920s, but by 1925, an 18,000-square-foot building finally was constructed at 800 Porter Street, which is where the school still stands today. The original structure was built at a cost of $125,000, and included eight classrooms, a library, a science lab, a home economics room and a gymnasium.
Rapid Growth in the 1950s
Enrollment nearly doubled during the 1950s, leading to the completion of three construction projects. Included among the additions were an 11,500-square-foot gymnasium (1950), and classroom additions in 1957 (12,000 sq. ft) and 1959 (26,000 sq. ft). The latter addition included wood, metal, industrial arts and electrical shops.
Athletic Facilities Added in 1960s
After sitting at 6.5 acres since the late 1920s, Lemont High School expanded to 29 acres by 1967; much of that land was occupied by athletic facilities. A $1.1 million project was completed in 1971, adding a kitchen, auditorium, locker rooms and other amenities.
Major Changes in the 1990s
Enrollment at Lemont High began to jump in the 1990s, which led to a $24.5 million expansion in 1997. That project not only added a three-story classroom addition and a field house, which doubled the building’s square footage to 300,000, but also a unique parking facility that helped alleviate severe parking problems for students and staff.
Bell Road Complex Finished in 2003
Lemont High School’s facilities expanded off campus by 2003, when the Lemont High School Athletic Complex was completed at 131st Street and Bell Road. The 26-acre complex now serves as home to the school’s baseball, soccer and softball teams.
Lemont High School Today
With student enrollment climbing rapidly, Lemont High School expanded again in the mid-2000s. A $29.6 million construction project that was completed in Spring 2008 added another three-story classroom addition; completely renovated the football stadium, which now features artificial turf and expanded seating; increased areas for computer and science labs, as well as for Industrial Technology and Family & Consumer Sciences; and added a new Performing Arts Center. The 360,000-square-foot school now covers 30 acres, but still sits where it started more than 80 years ago.