Our History - Part III
Article by Carol Triebold and Phyllis Monks
Crete’s Higher Education
Total school enrollment increased from 596 in 1949 to 1,950 students in 1953, with a building boom in the western part of the district. The Crete Township section of Park Forest and the later development of what today is University Park brought many students into the high school. More classrooms were needed and new courses were added periodically.
Only two years after the new high school was built, plans were formed in 1956 for an addition to the school. The Advisory Council specified that an agriculture shop 60x40 feet and a vocational shop classroom 28x22 feet be included in the enlargement along with an industrial arts department consisting of a general shop 60x35 feet and a drawing classroom 30x24 feet. Vocational shop and agriculture classes were taught at the Crete grade school and the students were bused to the site for classes. The new addition would allow these classes to be held at the high school.
The proposed classrooms for agriculture and vocational shop were approved, along with four classrooms, improvement to the library and two more washrooms. They were completed in 1957.
In 1961 a second addition to the high school took place. The addition provided one industrial arts shop, four science rooms, four classrooms, and faculty workrooms which also served as school board meeting rooms.
A new field house facility in a separate building, attached to the high school by an enclosed walkway, along with twenty-five classrooms was proposed in 1965. This would be the third addition to the high school in only eleven years since the school was built. The new physical education building was built and became known as the "Warrior Dome."
The existing gymnasium and locker rooms were converted into an auditorium-cafeteria with stage and seating capacity for 1500 district wide. Enrollment stood at 3,565 with a faculty of 178.
Birds Eye View of Completed Campus 1965
The Dome had been completed and in use when the unforgettable happened. Crete citizens were in their shirt sleeves frolicking in 65 degree weather when two days later—kapow—Crete was dealt a double whammy with the worst snowstorm ever. The wet heavy snow began falling early Thursday, January 26, 1967 and kept falling for twenty-nine hours. The official snowfall was 23-26 inches, although it seemed like that many feet. The weather forecasters had predicted nothing more than the basic winter storm.
Crete’s newest and grandest landmark never survived the first winter. The Dome, built with steel rods and half wood trusses, lay in shambles under the weight of the snow and wind. School had been dismissed early due to the storm. The last group of teenagers had just left the dome and boarded the buses for home when the roof suddenly collapsed.
Dome Collapse 1965
Investigation into the cause of the collapse took place to see if the problem was the heavy snow alone or if there were structural problems. The building and the contents were fully covered by insurance for rebuilding and also for the cost of demolition, unless it was determined that the roof was of poor design. It was not until later in1967 that the insurance claim was finally settled. The claim was submitted for $315,000 of which $295,000 was allowed and paid in full.
The demolition and cleanup of the Warrior Dome began February 21, 1967. The new building was rebuilt as a dome, mainly because the foundation, footings, wiring, drainage, sewage, heating and base had not been destroyed.
The roof of the new dome was designed in a radial rib construction of laminated beams with supporting beams in between, giving a spider web effect. The former Lamella roof was formed by a series of triangles each supporting the other. The second change was reinforced poured concrete walls rather than concrete blocks to accommodate the tresses. The new dome built in the same design with new features was referred to as the ‘same, but different’.
The first public gathering in the new dome was the senior class graduation ceremony on June 6, 1968.
New Dome 1968
The school continued to need more room. Two more additions were added to the high school in1966 and 1968, and again in 1973 with a 10,400 square foot addition and in 1976 when an 800 square foot mobile classroom was moved to the school.
Once again, in 1985-1986 the high school was remodeled. The courtyard area was utilized for a science addition and a new kitchen and cafeteria facility were added. Enrollment in the District then stood at 4,442 pupils.