It was auctioned off by the Fort Frye Local Schools Board of Education on Saturday morning. Floyd Nibert of Nibert’s Insulation was the winner of the auction, making the highest bid of $72,000.
The auction started at $144,000, which the board decided was the value of the building after having it appraised. After receiving no takers at that price, the opening bid was eventually lowered to $35,000.
“The board reserves the right to reject all bids,” school board president Zack Waite told the assembled bidders before the auction.
After Nibert appeared to be the high bidder, the board went into executive session and when they returned, Waite announced that they were considering rejecting Nibert’s bid. Waite continued the auction, but no one entered a bid higher than $72,000. After some negotiation, the board decided to accept that price.
Ten bidders and several dozen members of the local community were present to watch as the fate of the facility was decided.
“I came to reminisce,” said Sharon Morris of Belpre, who started attending Center Elementary, located north of Beverly off Ohio 60, in 1971. “I have a lot of memories here.”
Gary Combs, 60, of Center Township, sent his children to Center Elementary School, attended the school himself and even met his future wife there.
“I think it was inevitable that it would come to this,” he said. “I would like to see it come to its best possible use, something more in line with the way the building was designed. Frankly I would like to see it become a charter school.”
Ed Stewart, 68, of Center Township, also attended the school.
“I hate to see it closed,” he said “But now that it is closed, it might as well be sold. We don’t want to see it grow into a jungle.”
Nibert said that he doesn’t know what his company will use the facility for.
“It could potentially be used for a lot of things,” he said. “But we’re not sure at this time what will happen to it.”
Under the conditions of the purchase agreement, Nibert has to provide 10 percent of the cost within seven days of the sale.