River Trails Middle School

School District: 26

Grade levels: 5-8

Built: 1965

Is it still standing? Yes

Is it still a school? Yes


River Trails Middle School was named through a “Name the School” contest, which was won by 6th grader Lane Johnson. He wrote: “Many schools are named for people, but after a time their greatness may fade or even be forgotten, but a school with a name taken from nature…will never fade or be forgotten for nature is everlasting.” The school was built towards the end of the baby boom, although it has since felt the fluctuations in populations. During the baby boom, many schools were built to house the rapidly growing population, but as the population aged in the 1970s and ‘80s, many of these schools were demolished or consolidated. For example, in 1981 the Feehanville School was closed and the 5th and 6th grade students were transferred to River Trails, along with the bell from Feehanville’s cupola, which is now displayed in front of River Trails. With rising student populations in the 1990s school districts have found themselves short of space and missing the schools that were closed. Additions have been put onto the River Trails School in 1968, 1971, and 1991. However, these additions were not enough to hold the increasing population of students. In the late 1990s the school was forced to buy trailers to use as classrooms, as the population of the school had surpassed the space.

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