Auctioneers Peter Kiko (left) and Brooks Ames work the crowded assembly hall of Dalton Intermediate School on Wednesday as the the Dalton Local School District sold items from the now-defunct elementary and intermediate schools.
Twenty minutes after the auction of surplus items at Dalton Intermediate School began, bidders were still registering. More than 200 bidders gathered at the former school Wednesday to grab surplus items from the intermediate school and Dalton and Kidron elementary schools.
The schools, which closed at the end of the 2013-14 school year, were replaced with a new kindergarten through eighth-grade building. The district received state funding from the Ohio School Facilities Commission to construct the new school and to demolish the three closed schools.
Representatives from Kiko Auctioneers auctioned off 334 lots of items, including student and teachers desks, pianos, lockers, kitchen items, tools, maps and tables.
Abatement of the structures is scheduled to begin Monday, Superintendent Scott Beatty said. The process should take a few weeks, and demolition of the buildings could begin late October or early November, he said.
Beatty was pleased with the turnout, adding Kiko representatives told him bidders from seven states — including as far away as Texas — had traveled to Dalton for the auction.
At a recent school board meeting, Beatty told board members the auction would not generate a great amount of revenue, but rather it would eliminate surplus items.
Items that were attached to the building, including doors, windows, some lockers and other equipment were not sold.
Equipped with tape measures, bidders explored the items an hour before the auction began, marking their lot list.
Friends Debbie Forgues, Jayme Rahz and Shawn Swartzentruber scoured the buildings looking for treasures. Rahz, a Green Township resident, said she loves to look at the old school buildings.
She was scouting out kitchen items to use for canning. As the mother of two homeschooled children, she wasn’t sure if she would find something she could use.
Forgues, an Orrville resident, said she had never been to auction like this before and was curious. In her home state of Massachusetts, she didn’t recall auction being held.
Swartzentruber, of Dalton, was keeping an eye out for items that could be used at her children’s private school, Kingsway Christian School in Orrville. “There are things that are on the bottom of our wish list, but it would be nice to have them,” she said.
Before the auction began, Dalton graduates John and Becky Hostetler walked the halls of their alma mater one last time. The Dalton couple said their trip to the auction was a combination of nostalgia and hoping to pick up something to remind them of the schools. “It’s been really neat to walk through the schools and remember the teachers,” John Hostetler said. His wife agreed as she recalled her school days.
While the couple is sad to see the old schools meet their demise, they agree the new elementary school was needed. “They served their purpose,” John Hostetler said of the schools. “It’s just beautiful,” Becky Hostetler said of the new school that is across the street from their home. “When you walk through it you can see how great it is.”The couple’s daughter, Allison, is a kindergarten teacher at the school.
Blake Nussbaum, a member of the district’s maintenance crew, was escorting the Hostetlers, his brother- and sister-in-law, through the schools.“It’s time to go,” he said of the old schools. “We took good care of them and they are still functioning buildings but one of the biggest challenges was handicap accessibility.”