Church moving forward with cleanup

The next step toward clean up and revamp at the site of the old Sweet Grass County High School moved forward at the Nov. 6 city council meeting.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church bought the old high school from private owner Cyrus Smith for $20,000 in October, and is hoping to start fundraising efforts as soon as possible to start making the money back. 

But before any decisions are made on what will happen to the lot where the old school sat, a complete tear down clean up of the site will have to happen first. The church did a walkthrough with prospective bidders on Nov. 8 so they could see what the tear down will entail.

The church had the Environmental Protection Agency come through and come up with a report, stating there is asbestos and lead-based paint that will need to be taken care of properly. So far, three bid packets have been picked up, but none have been officially returned and filed. 

Of note was the bricks, which hold as much of a sentimental value to some in the city as they did for the foundation of the building. 

“The whole point is to come up with an area hopefully can use some of the salvaged bricks to make it as free of worry and upkeep as possible,” said someone representing St. Mark’s. “We want to put in something, we’re not there yet, but something that is a memorial to the old high school. Lots of us cared. And, turn it over to the public once it’s done. We’re hoping you’ll be amenable to that suggestion.”

St. Mark’s has set up an account with the Sweet Grass Community Foundation to help aid in the fundraising process. The church understands while some may be wary of donating money to a church, the Foundation’s account will make sure it goes directly to the clean up process for the old high school alone. 

The clean up and tear down portion of the project is hoped to be bid on two weeks after the walkthrough Nov. 22.

For more of this story, pick up a copy of this week’s Big Timber Pioneer on newsstands now, or subscribe online at

PHOTO CAPTION: The old Sweet Grass County High School is torn down by contractors Oct. 11, as part of an investigation by the Montana Fire Marshal. (STEPHEN KALB-KOENIGSFELD / Big Timber Pioneer)




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