Gurnee History - Schools

1835-1927 | 1928-1975 | 1976-Present | Timeline
Mother Rudd Home | Early History of Warren Township | Walter S. Gurnee
Village Government | Gurnee Days | Schools | Library | Park District

History of Gurnee Schools

Gurnee Grade School

Woodland Grade School

Warren Township High School

College of Lake County

The first school house in the area was erected in 1838; it was also used as a church and Grange Hall. The first teacher was James Alvord. His grave stone in the Warren Cemetery lists only "Born 1818 - Died 1849" with no mention of his educational services. A second school was constructed in 1840. The school was later relocated one-quarter mile down the road after a protest on the part of parents who objected to their children seeing drunken men at the saloons across the road.

It was not long before a larger school was needed, so a new two room brick building was erected about 1868. By 1892 this building housed the eight grades of grammar school and two years of high school. Students wishing to continue their education boarded and roomed in Waukegan or traveled by horse and buggy daily. Tuition to Waukegan High School was $25 a year.

Gurnee Grade School


Gurnee Grade School - 940 Kilbourne Rd

O'Plaine School - 333 N O'Plaine Rd

Spaulding School - 3638 Florida Ave

Viking Middle School - 4460 Grand Ave



Woodland Grade School - District #50

Woodland Community Consolidated School District #50, with an area of 30 square miles, was formed in 1948 through the consolidation of seven country school districts. The seven districts consisted of seven one and two-room schools. The consolidated district includes parts of Gages Lake, Gurnee, Libertyville, Waukegan, Wadsworth, Park City, Wildwood, and Grayslake.

Enrollment grew to 2669 in 1970-1971 and then declined to 1899 in 1984-1985. Subsequently, dramatic population growth has occurred and extensive residential and commercial building has occurred in the district. Enrollment for the 1996-1997 school year was 5055. Looking forward, the district projects a potential K-8 student population of 7671 by the year 2000.

Successful referendums for additional buildings and remodeling programs have been conducted in November, 1990 ($14 million) and November 1995 ($36 million).

Students are housed in five buildings located on two campuses. The 70 acre campus on Gages Lake Road contains four buildings, with the fifth building located on the 19.3 acre campus at the corner of Washington Street and Almond Road.

Woodland Middle School (Grades 6,7,8)

Completed in 1997, the Middle School is located on the northeast corner of Washington Street and Almond Road. The three-story structure is 318,000 square feet and is designed to hold 2,000 students initially. The core facilities--administrative area, health services, support services, gyms, library, and cafeteria--have been designed to accommodate 3,000 students.

The Middle School has 80 regular classrooms. Each classroom has a computer, TV monitor and telephone. The Tech Lab 2000 is one of only a few such state-of-the-art labs built across the country and features hands-on engaged learning opportunities.

Four gym areas are on the first-floor level, and two additional gym areas are on a second-floor mezzanine area, overlooking the first-floor gyms. Bleachers can be set up on the second floor area to combine with seating on the first floor for a total seating capacity of 1800.

Woodland Intermediate School (Grades 4,5)

Woodland Elementary School (Grades 2,3)

Woodland Primary School East (Grades K, 1, 2)

Woodland Primary School West (Grades K, 1)

Warren Township High School

The first high school in Warren Township was erected in 1917. The school first opened in the fall of 1918 with 57 pupils in attendance. This was a one floor school with a basement. Between the years 1920 and 1924, a Vocational Agriculture Building and Farm Shop (separate from the school and outside) were constructed. In 1926, a second floor and Gymnasium were added to the 1917 structure. Additions to this structure were also made in 1951, 1956, 1960, 1968, and 1974.

First Warren Township High School Gym.
The original building was destroyed by a major fire on December 20, 1984 just prior to the Christmas Vacation. At that point in time, all students and staff moved to the Lake Forest West Campus. From January 1985 until June 1987, the Lake Forest Campus was the educational facility for all the students of Warren Township High School. Construction on a new facility began in May 1986 and was completed in mid-August 1987. At that point in time, the students and staff returned to Gurnee for the first time since December 1984.

Warren Township High School O'Plaine Road Campus
Aerial View
A referendum for an additional building was successful in the November 1995 election. Warren Township High School's Almond Road Campus subsequently opened in the Fall of 97 and is located on Almond Road behind the Township Center. This location houses the Junior and Seniors as well as a new music wing and competitive gym. The O'Plaine Road Campus now houses the Freshmen and Sophomores.

Warren Township High School Almond Road Campus
Under Construction


Warren Township High School District 121 covers 50 square miles and includes the areas of Gurnee, Gages Lake, Wildwood, Druce Lake, Millburn, Park City, Wadsworth, Mill Creek, and Grandwood Park.
Warren Blue Devils School Song

The word is fight, fight, fight for Warren High;
Let every loyal Warrenite sign.
The word is fight, fight, fight for Warren High;
Until the walls and rafters ring - rah, rah!
Come on and cheer, cheer, cheer for Warren High;
We're gonna cheer until we hear the final gun!
The word is fight, fight, fight for Warren High;
Until the game is won!

College of Lake County

The College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, was established in 1967 as a public community college to serve the academic, career, social, economic, and cultural needs of Lake County.

The college officially opened in 1969 with 2300 students and 80 instructors. At that time, the facilities on the 230-acre main campus consisted of the buildings which now make up the North Campus. The main building, which was completed in 1974, is comprised of the A. Harold Anderson Campus Wing and the Paul W. Brandel Campus Wing. A Learning Resource Center was added to it in 1980. Since that time, the college has added a Physical Education Building in 1982 and the Science/Student Services Module in 1987. The college's growth reflects its commitment to excellence and the support which the people of Lake County have given it.

An 80,000 square foot Science/Student Services addition to the main campus opened in spring, 1987. This module houses facilities for biology, chemistry and medical records technology classrooms, laboratories and preparation areas, student service offices, a conference center, and a 400-seat auditorium.

The Multi use Instructional Building was opened in Fall 1996. It includes a child-care center and classrooms and faculty offices for the art, nursing education, multimedia and human services programs.

The Performing Arts Building opened during the Spring 1997 semester. It includes three theatres: a 600-seat Mainstage Theatre, used for musicals and other major productions; a 250-seat Studio Theatre, used for most other productions; and a smaller Experimental Theatre, used for student productions and classes. The facility also houses practice areas for dance, choir and instrumental activities, along with classrooms and faculty offices.

Additional Information about the College of Lake County
can be found at their website


The Village of Gurnee / History / Schools / Last Revised 03/28/01