In 1859, a one-room schoolhouse, the first school building of District 126, stood at 115th and Laramie. This school was replaced in 1916 by a red-brick building named Hazelgreen School. This "old" Hazelgreen building was built on property donated to the district by the Lane Family. Today, this former District 126 school is currently the Sportsman Club.
In 1892, a one-room "Old Standard" school stood at 123rd and Cicero. It was replaced in 1926 by a two-room red brick named Alsip School located at 12225 S. Loveland. In 1953, Lane School was built just west of the old Alsip School. The old Alsip School was demolished in 1968.
In addition to these buildings, new schools were rapidly constructed to accommodate the growing population following WWII:
- Lane School was built in 1953.
- Stony Creek School entered the district in 1959.
- Hazelgreen School followed in 1966.
- Oak View School was erected in 1967.
- Prairie Junior High became a part of District 126 in 1969.
In 1958, the total student population equaled 400. During each year of the next decade, enrollment in the district increased by +10% or more. In 1962 and 1963, Stony Creek School needed four mobile classrooms to house students; Lane School utilized one. By 1971, 2,525 students attended schools in District 126! Additions were built at each of the district's schools:
- Lane School built additions in 1961, 1968 and 1996.
- Stony Creek School expanded their facilities in 1963 and 1971.
- Hazelgreen School constructed additions in 1973 and 1986.
- Oak View School and Prairie Junior High built additions in 1970 and 1972 respectively.
Eventually the post-war boom in population subsided. In 1982, enrollment decreased to 1300 total students, and thus, Oak View School was sold to the Oak Lawn Park District in 1982. District 126 still owns the two acres on 111th Street, south of the old Oak View School.
Currently the district is five and one-quarter square miles. It includes four and one-half square miles in Alsip and three-quarters of a square mile of southern Oak Lawn. The five school sites comprise a total of thirty acres with additional acreage leased from Commonwealth Edison southwest of Prairie Junior High School.
Several superintendents have presided over District 126. Vera Ruff was the district's first superintendent from 1948 until 1959. William Smith headed the district from 1959 until 1990. William Boucek followed Smith. He retired in 2000. Robert Berger was the superintendent from 2000 until 2010. Craig Gwaltney is the current superintendent of District 126.
Over the years, the district's Administrative Center has changed locations several times. From 1951 through 1972, it was located at Lane School. In 1972, it relocated to the "old" Hazelgreen School at 5201 W. 115th Street. Since 1991, the site of the district office has been Prairie Junior High School.
District "History" page submitted by former Superintendent, William Smith.