SILVER LAKE — A final decision regarding the status of the Silver Lake School building was made today, May 30. Silver Lake Code Enforcement Officer Tom Earhart ordered that all buildings and structures located on the property to be demolished.
A hearing was held on May 16, regarding the order to demolish the building. The school was closed down approximately 10 years ago. At that time, Mike Baur expressed interest in purchasing and renovating the building, which had already been slated for demolition. Since purchasing the property, it has remained abandoned with its condition worsening.
It was reported that Calvin Bolt of Calvin Bolt Inspections & Testing performed an inspection of the building approximately a year and a half ago. Excerpts from Bolt’s inspection report included “Multiple broken windows, dead birds inside, extensive mold, window air conditioners that are very unsafe and need to be removed or repaired, rotted out roof sheeting.” There is also termite and water damage to the building.
Baur stated his reasons for wanting to keep the building included 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.
Earhart took the matter under advisement after the hearing. In his order to demolish, he lists 16 different facts that led him to his decision. These facts outlined that since 2008, the property has been cited more than 365 times for not keeping the premises mowed and for being a dilapidated building.
It was also noted that while Baur wanted to use the building for a charter school, he has applied and been denied on two separate occasions. While Baur continues to desire a charter school, he admitted that the building has not been sought after for the past 10 years.
In the findings, it states that a representative from Indiana Landmarks testified that while the building does have some historical significance, no one has been interested in it since 2000. The representative also estimated that the building now has only a 6-month expectancy until they will want nothing to do with it due to deterioration to the point of being an “unsafe landmark.”
Earhart found that the cost of demolition is less than the cost of rehabilitation. The order stated that the building meets the statutory definition of an unsafe building.
“The 10-year ownership of the premise and the continual and ongoing lack of significant repair and maintenance, renders the premises, including the building thereon, unsafe, substandard or a danger to the health and safety of the public,’ reads the order.
The order declared that all buildings and structures on the property of 202 E. Sycamore St,. be demolished, the salvage removed, the premises cleared and inspections passed. The costs of this order to the town of Silver Lake will be placed as a lien upon any and all property owned by Baur.
During the original hearing it was noted that any final decisions can be appealed and an appeal must be filed in Kosciusko County Circuit Court within 10 days.