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Central School

Central School has remained empty since its evacuation on March 15, 2013.

A Helena judge has denied a temporary restraining order that would have prevented Helena Public Schools from tearing down Central School while a lawsuit challenging the proposed demolition is pending. 

On May 10, Alan and Nancy Nicholson requested the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction after a $63 million school bond was approved by voters. The Nicholsons wanted to keep the district from taking action before the lawsuit they filed in March could be heard in June. The request asked that the city be prohibited from issuing a demolition permit and that the district maintain the Central School building and grounds. 

The lawsuit argues the city didn’t adhere to the Helena Historic Preservation Ordinance or its growth policy. The Nicholsons, who own property near Central, said the loss of a historic building would decrease the value of nearby properties.

The school was closed in 2013 after it was determined the building was dangerous and would be severely damaged if an earthquake were to happen.

Lawyers for the school district have filed a motion to dismiss the entire lawsuit. After the injunction was filed, Superintendent Jack Copps told the Independent Record the request was “disturbing” and said it could interfere with 74 percent of people who approved the school bond to build a new school.

Nicholson could not immediately be reached for a comment on Tuesday.

Judge Mike McMahon will hear the motion to dismiss the lawsuit and reconsider the motion for an injunction on June 21 at 9 a.m.

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