District 97 Buildings and Grounds Director Norman Lane formerly worked at Wheaton Warrenville South High School. Its warehouse, like Dist. 97’s on Madison Street, harbored all kinds of interesting stuff. Lane remembers seeing the original leather helmet worn by Harold “Red” Grange, the legendary running back for the Chicago Bears in the 1920s and ’30s.

No such nifty historical gems in Dist. 97’s 541 Madison St. warehouse, a one-story facility covering about 8,000 square feet, but it does house records as far back as the 1950s, all of it packed away in boxes.

The plan is to destroy some records, pending approval from the central office. Other data, like students’ medical records from kindergarten to high school, will never be destroyed, noted Lane, who started with Dist. 97 last summer.

“Sometimes I look around and say, ‘There’s a lot of old stuff in here.'”

The district is looking to convert much of the paper records to microfilm, he added. Until Dist. 97 finds a new, larger warehouse, space at the current location is a case of come and go. Supplies for all the schools and central office are stored here. Lane put the cost of its paper products alone at $43, 492. Cleaning products total $17,508.

A little room tucked away from the main area houses the original floor plans for each school building, including the old Emerson and Hawthorne junior highs (since replaced by Gwendolyn Brooks and Percy Julian middle schools). Those colored blue are among the oldest floor plans, Lane said.

-Terry Dean

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