Likely the best known building in Proctor today is Summit School — now known as Proctor High School. Not only does the structure have a long-standing history in the community, but it serves as a cornerstone establishment for the community as a daily destination for hundreds of students throughout the greater Proctor area.
Prior to the early 1920s, the area on the end of Second Street in Proctor was called Town Hill, an unused gradient adjacent to an extension of Proctor’s original townsite. But when a growing population inspired the need for a new elementary school in the community, in 1923 the site became home to Summit School, which provided 20 classrooms for kindergarten through ninth grade students at a cost of $210,000.
Welcomed and well-utilized as a cornerstone in the community, Summit School soon saw the need for expansion, and 14 years later, in 1937, the district dedicated an addition to the Summit School. Built using $130,000 in federal funds from the Public Works Administration, this addition included a swimming pool, cafeteria, and a gymnasium equipped with mobile seats to transform it into an auditorium. These new facilities soon drew high school activity to the building; prom, drama presentations, athletic events, and graduation all took place at Summit School, even though it was still the elementary school.
Bayview Elementary School, formerly of the Duluth School District, was folded into Proctor Schools in the late 1940s, offering ample space for primary students to learn. But junior and senior high school students soon became cramped, especially in 1955 when grades seven through nine were moved into an addition of Proctor High School (in the East Side School building). When this consolidation led to school overcrowding in the 1970s, concerned citizens used their voting power to pass a bond issues in 1981 to reconstruct Summit School into the new high school. In 1983, with refurbished facilities and modernized building facades, Summit School officially opened its doors as the new Proctor High School.
In dedication of this new building, the district wrote, “No simple list can provide an adequate description of the brick walls, green and white auditorium, warm, spacious hallways, homelike cafeteria, or the cedar ceiling centering the library. The new Proctor High School symbolizes and demonstrates this area’s faith in the young people who will gain knowledge there. In their name we dedicate this building today, with pride in the past and hope for the future.”
From the 1980s, continued progress and expansion of the high school has occurred. In 2001, a $13.9 million referendum was passed to expand facilities at the school. And in 2004, A.I. Jedlicka Middle School and a field house/fitness center were opened as a part of this project. In 2015, high school offices were relocated to accommodate school safety and transportation routing at the site.
Translating from its early beginnings, Summit School — serving today as one of the most notable and memorable institutions for those who cite Proctor as their home — holds a special place in the heart of the Proctor community.