About New Mark
New Mark Junior High opened to 1,000 students in 1973 at a cost of $3.7 million.
The school's first principal was Art Pfaff, who had been the assistant principal at Oak Park High School the year before.
Design and equipment for the school at 106th and North Oak Trafficway was planned by a committee of local teachers. Decorated in bright yellow, orange, green and blue, it featured piped-in music and carpeting in every room except the gymnasiums.
New Mark was the first junior high school in the district to use an open classroom design. Moveable cabinets divided spaces to provide enough privacy for a dozen students who need extra help. High noise areas, such as music, speech and foreign language classes, were all self-contained. Sitting island-like in the center of the home economics and science class areas were windowed rooms that housed four teacher offices. Only 50 feet from the English-social studies rooms for each grade was the library, which had individual study carrels that allowed students to use individual viewers or headsets in group settings.
A huge foyer supported by columns served as the dining area, with the foldable tables that could be removed for special events. To one side of the dining hall, electrically controlled metal gates close off the spacious kitchen, large enough to prepare meals for future schools in the area. Service was cafeteria style, and all dishes and eating utensils were disposable.
According to Principal Pfaff, eighth graders would learn about "the world of manufacturing" and hear from speakers representing both labor and management. To deepen the experience, they would then make a product that could be sold as a school-related Junior Achievement.