Here’s What Should Happen With The Nettleton School Building In Duluth
Nettleton Elementary School opened up in the Central Hillside neighborhood of Duluth in 1907. The building has also been vacant since 2013.
There are still a few buildings that sit empty in Duluth and I just hope that someday they will be occupied again. According to the Duluth News Tribune, the school was actually named after a man named William Nettleton. Nettleton was a pioneer and a politician. He even ran for Mayor of Duluth once and some even consider him a founder of Duluth.
Nettleton School which is located at 108 East 6th Street, closed down after the school board voted for the "red plan". The red plan ended up closing several other schools as well. There was a potential buyer of the building back in 2017-18. According to DNT, the buyer was a Minneapolis-based developer, United Properties. It sounds like the school was going to be turned into senior housing, which honestly would have been a good location for it. However, the building remains vacant to this day.
What I found most interesting, is after I did some digging on the internet, I found a link to a website called Apartment Home Living. It has the exact address of the building listed and even called it "Nettleton School". Here's what the website says:
Discover a new home at Nettleton School in Duluth. The 108 E 6th St location in Duluth's Central Hillside area has much to offer its residents. The leasing staff is waiting to show you all that this community has in store.
The property information even says there are 50 units, 3 levels, and was built in 2022. I recently went to the school, and it does not look like it was built this year.
Before we dive into what I think should happen with the building, let's take a look at what it currently looks like:
Most of the main floor and second floor windows are all boarded up. There were a few bags of garbage sitting outside a boarded up door and there was broken glass everywhere on the ground. However, the building still looks in decent shape and has a great view.
A closer look at the boarded up windows and a look at a very old stone sign. As you can see, behind the stone sign to the left, someone tried to put a hole in one of the boards.
A look at the back of the school and the old teacher's parking lot. I had no idea how big this school actually was until I drove around it. Again, the doors and windows are boarded up. You can also see some graffiti in the corner.
A cute little mural outside the old staff parking lot that says: "The sun is a big part of our home. It is what keeps us from freezing!" It also says: "Love don't hate", "Don't litter", and "Our big home".
Lastly, a large fenced in area where the playground used to be.
This building could easily be utilized for something more and I hope it does one day. Here are a few things I'd like to see happen with it:
Yes, I know we already have an arcade in Duluth and I love it. But imagine if there was another one. I'm talking like the old school Grand Slam days; fully loaded with a huge mini golf course like the old Grand Slam Castle (that turned into the haunted castle every October), a bumper car area or go-kart track, a huge laser tag area, a giant treehouse area for the little kids, so many arcade machines, batting cages, a basketball court, and of course a huge dinning area complete with an amazing restaurant.
Let's face it, I feel like it's cold at least 7 months out of the year up here. What if we had a big indoor playground that we could bring our kids to year round? This is something I would love up here.
Three floors, three different themed escape rooms. You could even split it up and have like two different escape rooms per floor. I'm talking fully immersive, fully involved escape rooms.
Hear me out here and let's get creative. Let's do an indoor pool and like a fun center on the first floor, a concert venue on the second level, and a large dinning area and restaurant on the top level. This would be awesome.
I'm sure there are other great ideas out there too. I would just love at least one of these ideas to happen in that building.
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