The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Education

January 15, 2014

South Madison board moves ahead with plans to raze building

Old high school, built in 1936, to be torn down this summer

PENDLETON — After long discussions about possibly preserving the old high school building in Pendleton, the local school board has officially begun looking for bidders to tear down the historic school building.

Chris Boots, president of the South Madison Community School Corporation board, said the plan is to have the building torn down during the summer when students will not be on the Pendleton Heights campus.

"The board has made the decision to move forward," Boots said. "We were hoping to have it torn down last summer."

The battle over whether or not to tear down the building, which opened in 1936, has been going on for years. The school corporation doesn't have any use for the old, expensive building while proponents of keeping it standing say the building is a part of the history of the town.

The Pendleton Historical Preservation Commission issued the school corporation a certificate of appropriateness, which essentially allows SMCSC to tear down a historic building. After a court battle with the town of Pendleton over the certificate, a judge gave the board the go-ahead.

Members of the commission did not respond to phone calls on Wednesday.

Boots said the last hurdle has been cleared and the board can now move forward with the bidding process.

The former high school and middle school building was built with money made available under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" policies in the 1930s. The school corporation has considered the building ready for demolition for the past two years, but local efforts to preserve the building have kept it standing until now.

The local organization Save Our Schools attended several meetings and posted yard signs all over Pendleton trying to raise awareness about the building's possible demise. The organization claimed the building had too much historical significance to be torn down.

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