July 24, 2009
Denfeld's distinctive chimney coming down
By Sarah Horner
Denfeld High School’s chimney, a distinguishing
feature of the building’s profile, is coming down.
Work started this week to tear down the brick
smokestack to prepare the building for the expansion called for
under the Duluth school district’s long-range facilities plan.
The school’s addition will be attached at
the chimney’s location, according to Kerry Leider, property
and risk manager for the district. The high-efficiency gas boilers
being installed as part of the project won’t need to use the
chimney, he said.
“There was no reason to save it,”
he said, and keeping the chimney would have meant paying to maintain
it. “It would have become a future cost that just didn’t
Taking it down will cost about $300,000, Leider
Laura Condon, the Duluth School Board member who
represents western Duluth, said she hasn’t heard any complaints
about the removal of the chimney.
“I haven’t heard anything …
other than people telling me they’re watching the work and
find it kind of fascinating,” Condon said. “I think
people are beginning to understand how things are coming together
over there and are getting excited. … Once it’s all
done you’ll be able to see the building quite clearly from
Not all of the chimney will be lost. Delicate work is under way
to salvage various carved sandstone medallions interspersed throughout
the chimney, according to Kevin Strong, program manager for Johnson
“Instead of sending those to the refuse
location, we are saving them because of their historical nature,”
Strong said. He added that the medallions weigh about 2,000 pounds
apiece. The district also intends to salvage some of the brick in
the chimney and hopes to incorporate both into the final building
Work on the chimney is expected to wrap up in
mid to late August.