AP NEWS

Demolish Hoagland school, board says

May 22, 2019

The East Allen County Schools board decided Tuesday that enough is enough: It’s time to demolish a former elementary building.

The unanimous vote followed about 30 minutes of discussion after administrators said there could be reason to advertise the sale of Hoagland Elementary School one last time.

Some parties expressed interest in the property, 12009 Hoagland Road, after the latest : and presumably last : bidding window closed May 10, said Kirby Stahly, assistant superintendent of administrative services.

“I was ready to be done with it a couple months ago,” said Chris Baker, board vice president.

“When do we just draw a line and say, ‘enough’s enough,’ and move forward?” he added.

Todd Buckmaster, board secretary, agreed. “I think we all want to be done with it,” he said.

The school, which was also known as Heritage Elementary, closed to students in 2014.

The board accepted a $175,000 offer on the 13-acre site from H1 Elite Investment Group last fall, but the deal fell through.

Last year, the board rejected bids of 175,000 because they didn’t meet the minimum threshold of $247,500, or 90% of the appraised value. At that time, Stahly said that declining the offers was “one step along the way” of selling the property for less than the initial minimum.

The district set the minimum bid at $10,000 for the most recent bidding window.

It’s understandable the former school continues to generate interest from potential buyers, said Tim Hines, board president.

“We all have to realize every time the game changes, the players change in the game,” Hines said.

Board members seemed receptive to Madison Township’s hopes to create a park and fire station on the land : a proposal that township trustee and longtime Hoagland resident Jane Linker described during public comment.

The township couldn’t afford to bid on the property, she said, adding that estimated renovation and demolition costs exceeded its budget.

“I only see one option that we have,” Buckmaster said. ”... To demo it and donate it to the township.”

In their vote, board members only approved proceeding with the building’s demolition.

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