Duluth School District closes on sale of Central High School

Duluth Public Schools closed on the sale of Central High School Friday, March 10, 2023, receiving $8 million from developers STC Building, LLC.

“I am very pleased to have finally sold this property after so many years of sitting empty and being for sale,” Superintendent John Magas said. “The $8 million from the sale will be helpful in providing additional resources to the students and families of the district, and will be a wonderful development opportunity for the city of Duluth.”

The $8 million from the sale is being set aside for future capital and technology purchases.

The sale and redevelopment of this property is the culmination of a plan put in place by the Duluth School Board in 2019 that included the sale and redevelopment of Historic Old Central High School (HOCHS), as well as the relocation of the district’s transportation and district services center.

In October 2020, the school board approved a $2.8 million purchase agreement for HOCHS with Saturday Properties and closed on the sale in February 2022.

The plan to sell both properties was adopted by the board to create efficiencies within the district and to aid in the redevelopment of two important Duluth properties, allowing for the district to focus additional efforts on existing school facilities and student outcomes.

“I’m pleased that the sale of HOCHS will result in a private firm taking on the preservation of the historic building, as I didn’t feel the taxpayer should be responsible for the high cost of preservation efforts,” said Dave Spooner, manager of facilities, who recently retired. “The district’s use of the back quarter of the property ‘on the hill’ for its new buildings will result in efficient, effective, and long-term cost-effective operations for the intended function.

“I anticipate that the client developing the front 55 acres on the hill will accomplish some great goals that enhance Duluth in many respects.”

The demolition of the Central High School building began in November and was recently completed. While the building is down, the final clean-up steps for the land will be completed this spring.