The Holmes School was constructed in 1931 and was a center for education in Detroit Lakes for many years. It served as both a High School and Jr. High School until 1978 when a new school was constructed. The building was empty, except for one floor, for many years.
In 1999 a group of community members came together to discuss a community center – a dream that had been talked about for over 20 years. Eventually, the decision to renovate the "Old Holmes School" became a part of the conversation. The proximity of the "old School" to the downtown area would bolster the region's tourism economy and make use of the empty building. Discussion about the old school brought visions of renovating the 800+ seat theater, creating conference rooms out of old school rooms, and maintaining some classrooms for an alternative school. Excitement grew as the vision expanded into a full fitness and aquatic center, day care facilities, and additional space for commercial tenants.
This all came true, and more, when the renovation and additional construction ended in January 2001 with a building over 105,000 square feet. Today the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center currently houses a Fitness & Aquatics center, a Senior Citizen's Center, an Alternative Learning Center, multiple daycare facilities, and of course, the beautifully renovated 837 seat Historic Holmes Theatre and Event Center.
The most impressive part of this facility is the willingness of community members to raise nearly $4 million in one year to support the renovation and construction of this awesome vision. The total price tag of the facility was $9.5 million and the center continues to pay off a construction loan of $1.5 million from the City of Detroit Lakes.
The facility is managed by Holmes Center, Incorporated and has a board of directors consisting of 8 representatives from the city, school, community and the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation. There are over 60 employees that run the center including, lifeguards, fitness instructors, theatre operations, maintenance staff and more! The Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center is a place for everyone. Not only is the fitness and aquatics center impressive, but the renovated theatre is a wonderful place to entertain audiences.