Chesterton Tribune

Gary puts five more schools up for sale

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GARY, Ind. (AP) — A struggling northwest Indiana city is hoping to find buyers for five vacant school buildings this month as it wrestles with a $19 million budget shortfall for 2012.

Gary Community School Corp. will open bids for the vacant buildings on Thursday. It’s the latest batch of city schools to go on the block as student enrollment has fallen from 16,000 in 2006 to about 10,000.

The district has closed about 18 schools in the last decade as more students have migrated to charter schools, the Post-Tribune reported.

Previous buyers have included the National Civil Rights Museum led by former Mayor Richard G. Hatcher, which bought Banneker Elementary for $50,000, and Lew Management of Gary, which operates Eclipse Charter and Tours. That firm spent $100,000 to acquire Beckman Middle School.

The school board has approved the sale of another middle school to the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana, but attorney Tracy Coleman said the deal has not been finalized. Buyers also have been lined up for two elementary schools, with sales expected to close by the end of the year.

Coleman said the school board tries to make sure the purchasers are legitimate entities and have the resources needed to revitalize the buildings.

“The board wants to make sure whoever buys it is equipped to renovate,” Coleman said. “The board wants to make the best decision for the community.”

The district plans to demolish at least three other schools and sell the land.


Posted 11/14/2011