Not So Fast
Bad boiler might derail Dupont school turnover
Thursday, August 21, 2014 11:00 AM
In July, Lancaster Township residents voted to take over the old Dupont Elementary School that was closed in 2012.
Wednesday night, however, Lancaster Township Trustee Betty Scully said she is waiting for the building to be inspected before she accepts the keys.
The Madison Consolidated Schools board had voted to turn the building and two adjoining lots over to the township. However, Scully said Mike Frazier, MCS' director of operations, said there could be a problem with the building's boiler.
"As far as I know, the water pipes are not busted, but the boiler is having trouble," Scully told a group of township residents at a meeting Wednesday.
If that is the case, Scully said it might not be worth it for the township to take over the building because of the cost to repair the boiler.
The condition of the building had many in attendance upset. Most thought the school district was legally obligated to maintain the building as if it were still operating. But township attorney Wil Goering said there's no state mandate requiring the school district to maintain the building during the two-year period it was legally obligated to keep the school. The school district simply had to hold the property, he said.
"It's hard to make them (MCS) pay for anything," Goering said. "They're not obligated to maintain the building."
Scully said once the building has been inspected, she'll have a better idea of what steps need to be taken.
If the township decides not to take the building back, MCS can sell the property at auction.
Doug Harrell, a Lancaster Township resident, said it's difficult to know what is and isn't the law with situations like these, because the laws are always changing.
He attended the meeting because he doesn't want the building to stay closed or be torn down
"It would be sad to see it just be abandoned," he said. "I drive by it every day and there's usually people there on the playground."
Pete Peterson was also in attendance. He said he thinks the township is ready to take the building back, as long as there aren't too many costly repairs.
"I'd like to see it stay just like it is," Peterson said.