Central High School demolition to begin next week

The school was closed in 2011 under the Duluth school district's "Red" facilities plan. District leaders in August agreed to sell the property for $8 million.

Duluth Central High School campus.
The former Duluth Central High School is seen on Aug. 4.
Steve Kuchera / File / Duluth News Tribune
We are part of The Trust Project.

DULUTH — Demolition of Central High School, the hilltop school that has sat empty for about a decade, is set to begin next week, according to Duluth Public Schools administrators.

Crews are scheduled to begin hauling necessary equipment to the site on Monday, according to Dave Spooner, the school district's facilities manager. A press event is tentatively scheduled Friday at the school site, according to Adelle Wellens, a district spokesperson. The exact day when the demolition will start in earnest is unclear.

Spooner said the demolition should take about six weeks.

School district leaders in August agreed to sell the mothballed school, which sits at 800 E. Central Entrance, for $8 million, a notch more than the $7.9 million listed price. Similar efforts that would have yielded higher sale prices fell through in 2015, 2016 and 2021.

The buyer is Chester Creek View LLC, a company linked to several others that have spent tens of millions on other Duluth real estate buys.


Board members agreed to a purchase agreement after a 90-minute closed session Monday night.

The district kept about 22 acres at the 77-acre school site, though. On that remaining land, construction crews are building a new district headquarters and bus garage. Nearby, a building that used to house industrial arts classes is set to be the new base of operations for Duluth Public Schools’ facilities and maintenance workers.

The company that’s in line to buy the bulk of the Central High School property paid millions for two other properties in town over the past four years.

The school was built in the 70s but has been empty since 2011, when it was closed as part of the district’s long-range facilities plan, also known as the Red Plan. School board members in July approved an $810,000 proposal to demolish it put forth by Veit & Co., a regional construction company.

Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

You can reach him at:
What To Read Next
The line would link three markets in the U.S. power grid.
Three house fires occurred on the Iron Range since Thursday.
But the judges said there's enough evidence to prove the "project does not have the potential to cause significant environmental effects based on air emissions and timber harvesting."
Also in today’s episode, why you can’t catch muskies, and good news for Duluth’s tourism industry.