Robinson High School About
Like many small, rural communities, Robinson educational facilities began with one-room country schoolhouses. In 1885, the first high school was opened. Along with many one-room country schoolhouses, North Side Grade School was also in operation. It later became known as Jefferson Elementary School.
In the early 1900's, Robinson decided that it needed a source of education that went past the subjects of reading and writing. In May, 1909, a vote was taken at the office of sheriff and a proposition was adopted to erect Robinson Township High School on the north end of town. It opened in September, 1910, with an enrollment of 200 students. The old building was converted into South Side Elementary School and later became known as Old Lincoln Elementary School.
Crawford County had industrial development during these years. The oil boom brought the Ohio Valley Oil Company to Robinson. L. S. Heath, a resident of Crawford County, began a small confectionery on the square in Robinson. During the 1920's, the business continued to prosper. The Heath family developed what became known as the Heath Toffee Bar. At the height of the Depression in the 1930's, the Heath Candy Company owned an ice cream and bottling plant and had began selling the Heath Bar. Later, the Ohio Valley Oil Company became Marathon Ashland Refinery and Heath Candy Company continued to prosper and expand both nationally and internationally. Both have been the backbone of Robinson's economy and contributed to the districts continued growth.
The high school soon took its place as one of the leading and most progressive schools in the state. Its attendance doubled in ten years and it became necessary to have more room for the work of the school. A bond issue voted in February, 1920 authorized the erection of two separate additional units, an auditorium and gymnasium west and a vocational building east of the main building. The vocational building was being constructed when a fire destroyed the main building in the early morning of January 29, 1921. School was completed using churches, office buildings, and various other community buildings. And in 1922, a new high school building was built on the same location. Tennis courts and an athletic field were added in 1927. In 1930 a high school girls gym was added and 1938 saw construction of the present boys gymnasium.
The Heath Candy Company and Marathon Oil Refinery continued to expand. This industrial base continued to promote the city's growth. As the population of Robinson continued to grow, enrollment in the schools increased. A bus garage was added to the high school in 1963 and an auto mechanics building in 1971.
Enrollments continued to increase through the 1980's. In 1986, there was concern that the state of Illinois might condemn the Robinson High School. An architect for the Illinois State Board of Education conducted an inspection and the school was left alone. In 1993 the old, outdated high school was one of the few institutions in town, which had not been modernized. Bringing new industry and business into the community became more difficult as families did not want their children to attend the eighty-seven year old high school. A state prison was built nearby that provided a facility for inmates, which was far better than what housed the students of Robinson High School. Wiring for computers was difficult. Teachers and students were uncomfortable with no air conditioning and poor heating systems. The Board of Education realized it was time for a new high school.
In the spring of 2001, an architect was hired to conduct a life safety study. At the same time, the district applied for construction grants. The report confirmed what many had thought and the Board members had hoped for, repair costs were much greater than replacing the entire structure. Building new would allow taxpayers to take advantage of the State Grant Program. Life safety bonds were sold, construction grants awarded, and ground was broke in 2002 for the new high school.
1885 High School Cost: $60,000
1939 High School Cost: $125,000
1909 Graduating Class Size: 26