New Carlisle school, vacant for 2 decades, being demolished

A school building in New Carlisle that has sat vacant for more than 20 years started coming down this week.

Demolition of Madison Elementary School began Monday and is expected to be finished by Friday.

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The demolition was funded through a Community Development Block Grant that the Board of Clark County Commissioners received from the State of Ohio. The board voted in June 2020 to allocate $173,900 of the $268,000 grant to the project. The remaining funding was to be used on a street repair project in Madison Twp.

Residents gathered to watch the demolition Wednesday. Nancy Hawkins, who graduated from the school in 1949, looked on as the bricks came down.

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“I went here years seven through 12. It’s sad, it’s really sad. This was before Tecumseh, and there was 17 of us in my class [at graduation], and now five of us are left” she said.

Hawkins noted the many memories she has at the school.

“It was a typical, small-town school, didn’t have too much going on, but we had a basketball team, we had a track team, we had a baseball team. We did a couple of plays our junior and senior year, but it’s really nothing like today; if we did a play it was nothing like “Sound of Music,’' it was probably something you’d never heard of,” she laughed.

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The school, during the time Hawkins attended, was called New Carlisle School.

“The first six grades were at the bottom, and the other six grades were upstairs, because it was all 12 grades at the time ,” she said. “It’s a lot of memories, and I’m definitely taking a lot of pictures to show to the others [classmates] that are left.”

Hank Taynor also watched the demolition, feeling sentimental as his grandfather had helped build the school , he said as he shared a special story about the front entrance.

“The front entranceway, the rounded two doors, he went down to Cincinnati and picked them up, and it took him a week to get down there and back. In the 30s, there was no big highways,” he said.

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Taynor also attended the school for six years.

“I was a patrol boy, to make sure the kids crossed the street good, and I did that from fourth grade to sixth grade,” he said.

Taynor, like others, felt sad to see the school come down.

“It’s a shame, it should’ve never been left to get into this kind of condition. Both of my boys went to school here too,” he said, as another section fell.

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Madison Elementary, a former New Carlisle elementary school located on 640 acres at 600 W. Madison St. , was purchased in 1998 after voters approved two issues allowing the City of New Carlisle to purchase the school for $110,000 and increasing the city’s income tax by a half percent, in part to pay for the project.

The city planned to use the building for government offices and a community center, but former city officials learned later that renovations would cost between $3.2 and $5 million. The building has since sat vacant. According to the Clark County Auditor’s website, the property was appraised at around $724,000 in 2018.

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The New Carlisle City Council lowered the price of the property to $50,000 in 2014. City officials hoped the deal would attract new developers who previously weren’t interested in the property, however, the city did not have any takers.

By the numbers

$173,900: Cost of demolition of Madison Elementary School

640: Number of acres for the school site

$3.2 -$5M: Estimated cost to renovate the building decades ago