Tucked away inside the walls of the newly-renovated lies a snapshot of the school's and city's past.
A historic mural - which once was largely forgotten in the basement of the school - now hangs proudly restored in the Alumni Room of the school's activities office. And Naperville Central activities director Lynne Nolan has a hunch the painting could be linked to a prominent Naperville artist.
The painting is roughly 10 by 6 feet and is believed to have been painted by local artist Les Schrader. Schrader was a self-taught artist and third generation Napervillian who is best known for preserving the city's past through his paintings, according to Naper Settlement curator of research Bryan Ogg. The artist painted over 100 scenes depicting Naperville's pioneer days, which the mural itself also shows.
"It's awesome, I love it," Nolan said. "It's so comforting that a piece of [school] history is still here."
The mural is painted on three strips of canvas and was originally located on a bathroom wall in the faculty lounge of the school in the 1950s, shortly after it opened in 1951. That lounge later became a child development classroom, housing the school's preschool program for 25 years.
As the school was going through its recently completed $87 million, 4-year renovation, Nolan knew she had to find a way to salvage the work.
"We went through the original building to see what we could save because once it's gone, it's gone," she said.
But it wasn't an easy task to simply move the mural because not only did it need to be restored, it was also glued to a wall.
Nolan coordinated the restoration and move with president Peggy Frank. When Nolan called Frank to come view the mural, Frank just so happened to be meeting with Neal Vogel of Restoric, LLC, a restoration consulting company.
After one look at the painting, they knew it was worth keeping. A team from Restoric, LLC wasted no time getting to work and removing the mural. They held onto the piece in a Chicago studio for two years before it was brought back to it's home at Naperville Central High School fully-restored last week.
Thanks to the help of the class of 2006, 2011 and the Student Advisory Board, Nolan was able to pay for the $11,600 restoration and installation cost.
The painting now rests among other items that tell stories of the school's past including a chalkboard, which was located in a science classroom before the renovation, old photos and school memorabilia.
A class of 1982 graduate and high school reunion coordinator, Nolan knows a thing or two about the school's history and is looking forward to showing off the new addition in the Alumni Room.
"People are going to come in and see it and it's really going to be great for the room," she said. "It's a forever item. It's here and it's forever."