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Jacobs

H. D. Jacobs High School
Principal Ami Engle
Spring 2013

"Excellence in Education" has been the mantra of Harry D. Jacobs High School since the in 1973. From the innovative design, visionary namesake, to the continued support from surrounding communities, H. D. Jacobs continues to pursue that goal for all of its stakeholders.

The school is dedicated to the spirit, vision, ability and example of the excellence personified in the life of Harry D. Jacobs (Memorial Plaque, 1976). Our namesake, Harry D. Jacobs was the Superintendent of District 300 from 1948 to 1966 when he retired. He is best remembered for his dynamic leadership as the district grew from an enrollment of 1,630 to more than 10,000 students. Sixteen buildings including three high schools were built during his tenure. Mr. Jacobs spent 47 years in education, 43 of those in District 300. He was assistant principal of Dundee High School from 1925-1933 and principal from 1933-1948.

Mr. Jacobs fostered the Unit District concept and was named superintendent when District 300 was formed in 1948. Mr. Jacobs was a member and former trustee of the First Methodist Church of Dundee, and a charter member and past president of the Dundee Lions Club. He also served in WWI. Jacobs was born in Harrod, Ohio, Feb. 4, 1896. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University, a Master of Science degree from Columbia and did post-graduate work at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois. He had been recognized for his service in May 1974 when the Board of Education named the district's new high school in his honor. Though he did not live to see H.D. Jacobs High School completed, he was able to see the blueprints for the building shortly before his death. Mr. Jacobs died in December 1974, at the age of 78.

Harry D. Jacobs High School located at 2601 Bunker Hill Drive in Algonquin, was built between 1974-1975. The former farmland was one-quarter mile off of then a sleepy, two-lane Randall Road. The building referendum for H.D. Jacobs approved on Dec. 4, 1973 included ten major construction projects and with the help of the Capital Development Board of the State of Illinois a 16.9 million dollars project began. Jacobs would be the first new high school constructed in District 300 since 1964. The building would serve a projected 1200 students as the population of the surrounding communities grew. The building design was open and flexible. Utilizing moveable walls and modular equipment, most of the materials could be moved and reconstructed allowing for various room configurations. This allowed teachers to subdivide areas for small study groups or enlarge space for team teaching opportunities. All of the materials were also magnetic; everything from bulletin boards to chalk trays moved. This systems concept encouraged creative teaching and learning. Originally, the building included 180,000 square feet of space.

The efficient use of that space was also a design focus. The floor plan for the upstairs area was devoted to traditional curriculum. A centrally located Instructional Materials Center (IMC) served as a combination library and resource center for students and faculty/staff alike. English, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, Foreign Language classrooms, and Faculty offices surrounded the IMC. On the first floor, the gymnasium, auditorium, lunchroom, student center, music, industrial arts, home economics, art classes and administrative offices were housed. All student lockers were on the first floor so as not to disturb classes upstairs. In addition, the school was air-conditioned, and hallways were carpeted. Perhaps the most unusual feature was the student commons area "the Pit" which was furnished with lounge tables and chairs and became a favorite gathering place for students during the day and after school. It also served as a dance floor, practice area, and performance area for students.

On Tuesday, March 9, 1976, 650 freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, 4 administrators, 38 teachers, 26 staff including secretaries, maintenance and our own cafeteria workers opened H. D. Jacobs High School. Students were given their third quarter schedules, a tour of the building and attended shortened classes that day. The spring quarter allowed students to acclimate to the building easily. In the fall of 1976, Jacobs would open with a new freshman class and 900 students in attendance. The class of 1977 was the first graduating class of H. D. Jacobs High School.

Throughout its history Jacobs has undergone numerous additions and renovations as the population of the communities it serves continue to grow. Shortly after opening, ten classrooms (the "Math Wing") were added to north end of the building (1979). Jacobs' growth continued with the addition of a field house, auxiliary gym, and renovations to create more upstairs classrooms. Later came a two-story addition of classrooms accommodate almost 2000 students. The latest additions included a new competition gymnasium, administrative offices, faculty offices, auditorium seats, a new library/media center and several computer classrooms and reconfigured the upstairs for additional classroom space. H. D. Jacobs High School is now a facility of 320,000 square feet and serves 2500 students.

District Office
Phone: 847-551-8300
Fax: 847-551-8413
Community Unit School District 300

NEW! Central Office Location:
2550 Harnish Drive
Algonquin, IL 60102
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