SILVER LAKE — At 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 16, Silver Lake Town Council members will hold a hearing at the town hall to vote on an “order to demolish” the former Silver Lake Elementary School building.
According to Silver Lake Town Council President Chad Miner, the school was closed down approximately 10 years ago when Warsaw Community Schools voted to close Silver Lake, Claypool and Atwood schools.
At that time, Mike Baur expressed interest in purchasing and renovating the building, which had already been slated for demolition. According to Silver Lake Street and Sewer Superintendent JT Prater, the town paid around $10,000 to cancel that contract so that Baur could purchase the school and redevelop it.
Miner stated that Baur told council members he planned to put a charter school in the building. Silver Lake Partners LLC eventually became the owners of the property, with Baur being one of the members.
Baur and the other owners of the building are holding a rally from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, in an attempt to save the building from being demolished. The rally will take place at the school building on East Sycamore Street. Cookies and punch will be served while supplies last.
Flyers have been passed out this week by Baur regarding the rally and town council hearing. Information included in the flyer includes a list of reasons to keep the building from being demolished: the art deco style of the building; it is one of the last “Hoosiers”-style gyms in the state; if it’s demolished, Silver Lake property taxes will go up to pay for the demolition; and the building has historical significance to the town.
Miner pointed out that the building has become increasingly unsafe and dilapidated and reported numerous safety issues with the property.
“The town council has tried to work with Mr. Baur, but at this point in time the building is basically just sitting there abandoned,” said Miner, adding that council members have concerns regarding the safety of the building, especially in that the building is located beside Rambler Park.
“This is not something that is happening all of a sudden,” Miner said. “If he was going to do something with the building, I think it would have been done by now.”
“I think the council members would have loved to have seen the building restored, but at this point we have serious concerns whether that is even a possibility,” Miner stated. “It’s not that we want to see the building torn down, but we have to consider the safety of the residents.”