SYRACUSE — “When I woke up this morning, I didn’t think I would be buying a school,” said Richard Gingerich of Nappanee.
Richard and Regina Gingerich’s bid of $105,000 was the winning bid in the real estate auction Monday afternoon, Nov. 4, for the property of the former Syracuse Elementary School on Brooklyn Street.
The Gingeriches purchased the school building, the parking lot area, a potential building lot with frontage on Boston Street and Brooklyn Street and a potential building site with frontage on Boston Street. The school building, in addition to the classrooms and office space, has a gym built in the 1950s and used by the former Syracuse High School, and which has some historical significance as it hosted two basketball sectional tournaments in the 1950s.
Although the four separate real estate tracts were offered as combination parcels, too, the winning bid purchased all four parcels together. Brian Wuthrich of Hahn Auctioneers was the auctioneer.
There were a few bids for two of the parcels as a combination prior to the winning bid. Wuthrich noted before the auction began “whichever combo totals the most money will be presented to the school corporation.”
Richard Gingerich said he owns some commercial properties, but does not have any immediate plans for use of the property.
“We are just happy someone would want it and have a use for it,” said Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation, after the bidding was finished. The school had been in use through the 2016-17 school year until a new elementary was built on Kern Road.
James Flecker, director of personnel and legal services for the school corporation, said there was not really a target price to anticipate what the property could sell for. “We were thinking anything from it would not sell to $1,000 or more,” he said, adding the building will obviously no longer have to be maintained and utilities paid by the school corporation.
Several pieces of playground equipment, kitchen equipment, school supply equipment and more were auctioned after the real estate was purchased.