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North House to File for Building Permit Following Community Input

Feb 01, 2023 04:20PM ● By Content Editor
Photo caption: Purchased from Tommy Eckel in 1998, the Yellow House initially served as the North House Office and Intern Housing. In 2016, it took on the role of School Store. Due to significant issues with the foundation the building needs to be replaced.

North House Folk School Press Release
February 1, 2023

Following a year of community engagement, North House Folk School will be applying for a
building permit to replace the Yellow Building that houses the school store. The new building will
create space for a new school store as well as two modest-size classrooms. Initial planning for
the structure, on property owned by North House, is designed to align with all city building
requirements and setbacks and as such should not require a variance or conditional use permit.
“We love the little Yellow House and it has been a key part of our campus since we purchased
that parcel from Tommy Eckel almost 25 years ago, but the foundation is cracking,” said Greg
Wright, Executive Director. “Replacing it now creates the opportunity to create some of the
classroom space we need, while also creating a more functional registration area and school
store to welcome neighbors, visitors, and students.”

The proposed project will also enhance community access to the harbor with the addition of an
elevator, as well as public restrooms. Additional elements of the project will be defined in the
coming months.

“Filing for the building permit is the first step toward construction starting late this summer. This
will allow North House to meet our need for classroom space while continuing to engage the
feedback and ideas we received from neighbors last year, especially in regards to the Scott Fish
House and the character of the waterfront,” said Wright. “Our hope is this project will also give
North House the clarity we need to extend the lease for North Superior Fishery on the dock.”
As part of this process, North House has already started reaching out to community members
and neighbors who have been part of planning efforts and discussions. According to Wright, the
goal is to keep the exchange of information and ideas as fluid as possible.

“Last January when we learned that North House’s initial plans involved relocating our great-
grandfather’s fish house, our family was saddened but felt that this was the inevitable result of
having sold the property decades earlier,” shared Laura Scott, “But North House genuinely
listened to us, and knowing that this project won’t impact the Jim Scott Fish House shows their
commitment to the community of Grand Marais.”

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done at North House over the past year,” shared current board
president and Cook County resident, Carol Winter. “Taking time to listen was a critical part of
our planning process, and I think we’ve come a long way from our initial plans to find solutions
to the concerns we heard.”

Carol shared that the board created a task force in August of 2022 to explore alternatives to the
initially proposed classroom building that was located adjacent to the harbor on the Dockside
parcel. “While some community members have suggested building across the street on the land
to the west of our Green building, that parcel’s connection to Indigenous history is something we
are working closely with the Grand Portage Tribal Council and descendants of Chippewa City to
fully understand, and that will take time.”

Winter went on to add, “We also did not want to impact the fishermen, The Fisherman’s
Daughter, or the Angry Trout. In addition, the board is focused on the property North House
owns, not the property we lease from the City of Grand Marais.”
“Our goal is to make sure the proposed building addresses North House’s current needs, which
necessitates that it will be larger than the current Yellow House, which only has a 450 sq ft.
footprint,” said Wright. “Despite the larger size, we are committed to making sure its character
fits with the other buildings on campus and in the neighborhood.”
In an effort to make sure that the community feels well informed about this project, North House
will be hosting two informational sessions on this project: Tuesday, February 7th at noon in the
Boat Barn and Thursday, February 9th at 5:30pm, also in the Boat Barn (the morton building
behind Fisherman’s Daughter).