Century High School
Approval and Construction
Plans for a second high school began in 1969 and the project was approved in 1972. Ground was broken in 1974.
The site ultimately chosen for the new high school was just north of Century Avenue between planned extensions of 8th Street and 10th Street, then adjacent to Weiss Commercial Park and Sweeney Brothers Tractor Company. At the time, the site was outside of city limits.
The proposed school site spanned 51.5 acres, 40 of which was already owned by the park and school districts. To acquire the remaining land, the city annexed 51 acres of Hay Creek Township and filed an eminent domain action against William Weiss. Weiss intended to expand his adjacent Weiss Commercial Park onto the land. A court decision in 1973 awarded Weiss $160,250 for the desired land and severance damages.
Contrary to popular belief, the school was not built directly on top of the former garbage landfill. It was, however, built just to its east. The Century Recreation Area Bark Park, on the northeast corner of 4th Street and Century Avenue, actually sits on the former landfill site.
Its chosen location was highly controversial at the time, due partly to the early landfill misconception. Additionally, the surrounding area – still largely undeveloped – was zoned for major commercial use. In particular, future traffic congestion was a noted concern.
Name, Mascot, and Colors
The school takes its name from the fact that it was approved in 1972… Bismarck’s centennial year. It also was to be located on the already-named Century Avenue. Its name was formerly adopted in 1974.
“Century” was chosen among 70 names suggested in a “name the high school” contest held in 1973. In the contest, “Century” actually placed second, with Capital City High etching 1 vote more. Despite this, the school board unanimously chose “Century.”
Coincidentally, its completion also coincided with the nation’s upcoming bicentennial the following year, leading to the school adopting its mascot as the Patriot with its official patriotic colors of red, white, and blue.