Former students say goodbye as demolition begins at old site of Silver Lake Elementary School

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT
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SILVER LAKE, Ind. (WNDU) - In 2004, the school once known as Silver Lake Elementary, closed for good.

Now, the building dilapidated beyond repair, is being torn down.

“Where the boom is right now, that was the girl’s bathroom,” said Jean Weller, Town Council member and former Silver Lake student.

According to the Times Union, the school was opened in 1930, and taught the first through twelfth grades. In 1966, it became exclusively a grade school, and in 2004 it was closed.

“There was a bunch of people that tried to save the school a long time ago,” Weller said.

Ideas of putting in a charter school or renting out the gym were talked about, but nothing ever came to fruition.

“If they had been able to do something at the beginning, I think all they would have had to have done is put in an elevator and they could have done some amazing things with it,” said Weller.

Now, almost two decades after it closed, the school is being torn down, and the town has plans to replace it with a Community Center.

“One thing that we really want to do is get a gym so that the kids will have some place to go and play ball. They have nothing to do in this town except ride their bikes and get into trouble,” Weller added.

While community members told 16 News Now they looked forward to the new building’s future, they won’t forget the memories Silver Lake Elementary held.

“I’m kind of excited, I hope they build that building pretty soon,” said former Silver Lake teacher, Ren‘e Williams, “It’s been here 92 years, that’s a long time. 92 years.”

“My grandma bought that house in 1942 and she taught over here, 1st and 2nd grade for forty years,” said former Silver Lake student, David Williams.

The Williams family had a long history with Silver lake Elementary School, but they, like others, know it had to come down.

“It’s been an eyesore for quite a while, and I know some people are very happy to see it go. I’m happy to see it go, even though it makes me sad, but it couldn’t be revived so, what else are you gonna do?,” Weller said.

According to the town, demolition should be completed in three weeks, and with plans still being developed for the new Community Center, leaders said, it’s completion could take a few years.