C-L-K District History

School District No. 1 of Calumet Township was organized on September 2, 1867, as a primary school district, but just two years later, on September 6, 1869, the voters of the district approved the Board of Education's proposal that "the present primary school district be forthwith changed to a graded school."  It is not known if high school subjects were offered immediately after that change, but at least the legal framework was in place to do so.

The events were moving swiftly is evident from the fact that just ten years after the discovery of the Calumet Conglomerate Lode in 1864, five schools had already been built and a sixth was begun -- bigger and better than the other five combined.

The new Central School was later named the Washington School.  It was ready for occupancy in September, 1875, and achieved nationwide attention for its size and for the facilities its thirty-eight rooms provided to Calumet students.  Among these was a high school assembly room and four recitation rooms, a laboratory, a museum and sizeable township library, which was accessible to teachers, students and the public alike.

High School classes were carried on in the Washington School until 1898, when a high school a a manual training school were built across the old Torch Lake Road from Washington School, on the site of the present high school, although these buildings were smaller than the present structures.  These two schools, devoted solely to high school education, represented an expansion of the curriculum and probable a considerable increase in enrollment at the high school level.  At this time and for some years to come, the Manual Training School was staffed by employees of the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, and the two schools had separate principals, both responsible to the superintendent and the board of education. These buildings were short lived, however, being destroyed by fire soon after the opening of the school year, in September 1905.  The present high school building rose from the ashes, built (as were all the other schools on company property) by the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company.  The materials used in its construction reflected a determination to prevent a loss by fire ever again.  The new building was ready for occupancy in September, 1907, and still serves the needs of its students very adequately.

The advent of the school bus revolutionized our system of education.  In the years from 1947 to 1956, the transition to centralized schools was completed.  Rural districts from Allouez, Mohawk and Ahmeek merged to form the Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw District.  The public educational system consisted of three elementary schools -- Charles Briggs, M. Morrison and Keweenaw Elementary -- the Washington Middle School, plus the High School. Today the district consists of CLK Elementary(K-5), Washington Middle School(6-8), Calumet High School(9-12), Horizons Alternative High School(9-12, Upper Peninsula Virtual Academy(K-12) and the Discovery HomeSchool Center(K-12).

Technology is a big part of the CLK Schools today as students in grades 4-12 have an Apple iPad Air for personalized learning anywhere and anytime.  Students in grades K-3 have carts of iPads for use in their classrooms.  Every classroom is equipped with an interactive projector to create a visual learning environment.  The 3D printing program which is from grade 3 through 12th was state-wide recognized for its innovation and excellence.

Quality education is not possible without public support.  The Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw School District residents have provided this support through its long history -- a true testimony of their commitment to quality education.

This support was celebrated on December 17, 1994, when the community approved an $8.6 million building project by a vote of 1312 to 1097.  The accepted proposal erected a new elementary school attached to the north of the multi-purpose building, a new gymnasium and multi-media center connecting the high school, middle school and multi-purpose buildings.  The site development began on July 5, 1995, with the building construction completed in September, 1997.

On December 14, 1998, the C-L-K community approved a $1.4 million proposal to renovate the high school and middle school lavatories, rewire the buildings, refinish the hardwood floors, refurbish the high school auditorium, and establish another science lab in the high school.  The project was completed in the summer of 2001.


On May 4, 2010 district residents approved a $6.9 million dollar bond extension that added five classrooms to the elementary, a commons addition for school and community use, energy efficiency improvements, new roofs on all the districts buildings and technology upgrades.

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