Middletown officials are planning to demolish the former Lincoln School, 2402 Central Ave., later in 2019. The property was transferred to the state of Ohio for nonpayment of back taxes in July 2016, but was unable to sell it. The city requested the property through the Butler County Land Bank, which took possession on July 12, 2018 and transferred it to the city on July 26, 2018. FILE PHOTO
Photo: Mike Rutledge
Photo: Mike Rutledge

This Middletown elementary school’s winding path could soon end in demolition

Next week, Middletown City Council will consider emergency requests to approve the $292,000 demolition contract for the old Montgomery Ward building on North Main Street, which is already underway and move funds from the city’s former Community Development Block Grant revolving loan program to the CDBG account to facilitate the demolition of the former Lincoln School, 2402 Central Ave. The school demolition project is being planned for later this year.

Shelby Quinlivan, city spokesperson, said the parcel was transferred to the state of Ohio on July 22, 2016 for back taxes. She said the state was unable to sell the propert,y and the city requested the property from the state through the Butler County Land Bank.

MORE: Fire at former Middletown school called ‘suspicious’

The state transferred the property to the county land bank on July 12, 2018, and the land bank transferred the property to the city on July 26, 2018, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office website.

There are two buildings on the 5.53-acre parcel that were both built in 1927, according to the auditor’s office. The primary building contains 38,716 square feet, and the secondary building contains about 3,984 square feet, according to Michael Guldia of the auditor’s office.

Quinlivan said pre-work is still needed before the city can solicit requests for proposals, and she anticipates bids going out when those reports have been completed. She said among the reports still pending are for asbestos in the building and said that report could affect the cost of demolition.

Lincoln School was closed in 1980 when students were moved up Central Avenue to Roosevelt Elementary School, which closed in 2008 and was later demolished. The former Lincoln School was then sold to Middletown Dental Group, which maintained a dental practice in the building until 2011. Several other small businesses operated out of the building during that time.

The building has been vacant for a number of years, and residents have called it an eyesore because of high weeds. It has also been the site of vandalism, including a fire in December 2015.

MORE: Former Montgomery Ward building in Middletown to be razed after wind damage

Demolition started about two weeks ago of the former Montgomery Ward building on North Main Street after a recent windstorm damaged the building’s roof.

Quinlivan said the city tried to sell the building twice but did not receive any bids or proposals. She said the city bidded out the building’s demolition in December 2017, but that the city did not move forward on the project due to a lack of funds. Quinlivan said at that time, Vickers Wrecking submitted the lowest bid for $292,000 and agreed to honor that bid last month.

Last year, Vicker Wrecking demolished the former Studio Theater on Central Avenue.

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