Mt. Carmel High School has been transformed into a different school—twice—and it will be featured as a setting for two upcoming episodes of the NBC TV show “Chicago Fire.”
The all-boys Catholic school, 6410 S. Dante Ave., welcomed the cast and crew of “Chicago Fire” for two days of filming in November, then again on Jan. 7.
The school will appear in this season’s 12th episode on Jan. 22, then in the 15th episode in coming weeks. Both episodes will begin at 8 p.m.
Mt. Carmel Principal Scott Tabernacki said everyone who was part of the show helped provide “an awesome experience.”
“It was great from start to finish. They couldn’t be any more accommodating,” said Tabernacki, who is in his first year as principal of the school. “They stopped filming during every passing period. … They were asking us what they could do, instead of the other way around.”
During the November visit, school officials said, Mt. Carmel was transformed into Stover Academy, with new signage posted all around the school, including on the exterior, first-floor murals, a bulletin board in the main office and teacher-name plaques outside classrooms.
A banner in the school gymnasium was also switched out to celebrate Stover’s 23 state championships—the same amount Mt. Carmel had won in all sports as of filming.
The transformation was so realistic, Tabernacki said, that one alumnus visiting the school confronted the principal about how he could have the audacity to change the name of the school—not knowing “Chicago Fire” was filming on campus.
School officials said Stover Academy will be featured in the January episode, as a student pulls a fire alarm and fire engines race to the school three times.
Two students will appear as extras after applying on Facebook, Tabernacki said, and the crew also filmed during morning drop-off so more faculty and students could be seen.
During the recent filming, school officials said, Mt. Carmel became Kaufman High School, and new logos were again installed. Shots were filmed inside a classroom in the science wing and in a hallway.
The school will be featured in a “really small scene,” Tabernacki said, with the return of a character from the NBC show “Chicago PD,” which often blends its storyline with “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago Med.”
Mt. Carmel staff member Eleanore Menke will appear in that episode.
Mt. Carmel is no stranger to hosting TV shows and movies. “The Chi,” a Showtime drama series, was taped at the school over the summer, and Mt. Carmel was also featured in the movie “Blue Chips,” a drama about high school and college basketball, in the early 1990s.
The school has also welcomed Nike, KitchenAid and Boston Market for film and video production.
Mt. Carmel Vice President of Operations John Byrne said production scouts called the school to gauge the interest level in appearing in a show, then locators contacted administrators about “Chicago Fire” using the facilities.
Byrne said the “Chicago Fire” crew accommodated the school’s needs, even making sure to have the hallways cleared for students to navigate to their next class every 45 minutes.
“They’re wonderful to work with,” Byrne said. “They get the idea that you’re working together. They exemplify that.”
In July, “Chicago Fire” shot scenes at County Fair Foods in Morgan Park, and in September 2015, crews filmed at a home on the 10100 block of South Oakley Avenue.
Byrne said the crew handled most of the Mt. Carmel on-location work, and school officials only needed to keep clear a circle driveway near the school entrance.
Crew members showed up at the historic school as early as 4 a.m., and some production days lasted until midnight.
However, Byrne said, he enjoyed the experience.
“They’re so easy to work with,” he said. “There’s a lot of give on both sides.”
For more information on “Chicago Fire,” visit nbc.com.