In the late 1990s Dabbert and Fleming of Jackson concluded that renovating this historic Collegiate Gothic high school would cost less than building anew on a farm field outside of town. In 1999 voters approved a millage to rework the old high school. Today 1,700 students attend the school.
The west- and east-side high schools merged in 1908. Nearly twenty years later, Jackson's citizens supported the construction of one of the most prominent schools in the state. With a tall pinnacled central entrance tower the brown brick and limestone-trimmed building stands three stories on a foundation. Recognizing a primary function of the public schools was to make good citizens, the board of education designed and equipped the school with everything needed to meet curricula objectives for college and noncollege preparatory schools. The 1,800-seat auditorium was the largest in the city when the school opened. Greek, Latin, Pompeian, and Venetian elements of the Classical Room gave students a vision of ancient life and its contribution to civilization. A fireplace added warmth and beauty to the library filled with seven thousand books. Voting booths in the Forum were intended to promote good citizenship. Although many details were lost in adapting the school to the needs of high school instruction today, still present is Britten Hall, named for literature teacher Caroline Britten and also known as the Shakespeare Room, a two-story English hall rendition with leaded-glass windows intended to inspire interest in literature.