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Milton School will be demolished

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A plastic tarp put on the roof at the old Milton School to protect the interior is blown over the front of the school. Water damage and age have deteriorated the building to the point demolition is the only answer.
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Boarded up and broken windows line the exterior of the old Milton School, soon to be demolished.

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

MILTON — Efforts to save the old Milton School have ended. The next step is demolition.

After more than two decades of trying to find other uses for the classic school structure that sits along Indiana 1, the town of Milton received a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to pay for demolition.

The last chance to save the historic building came a few years ago. The town applied for tax credits to renovate the building for senior housing, under the same program that allowed renovation for the Pattern Mill Senior Apartments in Connersville.

When the state denied that application it sealed the building’s fate.

The roof has caved in at many locations, allowing water to damage the interior. Windows have been broken out, allowing more weather to take its toll and birds to enter.

Students attended the school following construction in 1923. After being an elementary school since consolidation in the 1960s, the last students left the building in 1996.

Commercial interests occupied the building for a few years, including using the stage for musical shows.

The OCRA Blight Elimination grant is for $469,000 with the town paying a 10 percent match. The paperwork has not been completed, said Terry Craig, town clerk-treasurer.

“We hope the bid comes in less,” he said.

The next step will be selecting an engineer to write a demolition plan. That could take 30 days, he said. The engineer will have 90 days to write the plan. It will be the end of the year before it comes down.

“It has gotten too bad to even go inside,” he said. “My kids went there through the sixth grade. It’s just sad when you think of all the kids that went through there. Little boys picking on little girls and the basketball games.”

Some of the memorabilia from the school is now in the new town hall, including class pictures, a bit of the stage curtain and a picture of the 1954 Milton sectional championship basketball team.

“Most of the people in town hate to see it go but they realize it is too far gone,” Craig said. “It’s just sad.”