Central School, Helena

On February 27, the Helena City Commission granted a demolition permit to the Helena School District to tear down and replace Central School, Helena’s oldest public school. All in the preservation community were disappointed at the decision, given the many viable options presented by MPA to Trustees for complete interior rehab and exterior restoration that could have preserved its historic charm, provided a first-class educational facility, and maintained integrity in the surrounding historic district.

Shortly after the decision, Helena citizens Alan and Nancy Nicholson filed a law suit arguing that the City of Helena didn’t follow the Helena Historic Preservation Ordinance or its Growth Policy in issuing a demolition permit for the school. A group of Central School parents filed a countersuit, asking the court to dismiss the suit and let demolition proceed. On May 10, the Nicholsons also filed an injunction to halt the City of Helena from issuing the demolition permit. The injunction was denied and a hearing is set for June 21.