Tonawanda News — With the recent announcement that Christian Academy of Western New York will lease about half of Gilmore Elementary School to house its students, the North Tonawanda School District will opt to rid itself of the thousands of items collected over the building’s 88 years of history.
Still stacked throughout the colossal structure are too many pieces to name in their entirety: Desks and tables from years past, projectors that technology has left behind, meat slicers from a bygone cafeteria, a record collection from the late-1970s and televisions swept aside for the flatscreen variety are just a sliver of the mass of materials assembled in various rooms at the school, after a custodial crew and student interns spent the last month neatly arranging them by category.
Still more can be found in the lower floors, with pianos, antiques and items that perhaps only an educator would want. They all have to go, says Laurie Burger, director of curriculum and instruction in the district.
While the district was hurriedly contemplating what to do with the collection, the leased space has put emphasis on the undertaking. A finalized plan of what to do with the items formed just weeks ago, when Burger brought up the idea of an auction, which she had seen utilized during her time as a elementary school principal in Warsaw County.
“We grouped everything together but before that we couldn’t move in this room,” Burger said this week, as she meandered through the piles of wares.
District officials are hoping that other educational institutes, businesses and individuals will flood into the building next week for a silent auction, held on Tuesday and Thursday.
Assistant Superintendent Allan Getter said Christian Academy administrators approached the Board of Education in July expressing interest in utilizing the vacated school, which is still owned by the district, though up for sale.
“We were doing this even before Christian Academy talked to us,” he said.
Getter said the auction works like this: “The way we’re planning on doing it, you can walk around the building and look at the items. We’ll hand you a bid form if you’re interested. Whether you want a lot of items or just a few, we’ll seal your bid in an envelope. And contact you the following week.”
The items are arranged by “lots,” which allows one to purchase an entire section of wares, though the possibility of buying only a single object is just as feasible. With thousands of students attending Gilmore over the course of the decades, Getter said he’s also banking on them acquiring an article of yesteryear for nostalgia’s sake.
About 95 percent of them are from Gilmore itself, Getter said, with a few other items brought in from other schools in the district. Any of the money collected from the sale will go back into the district’s general fund, as required by law.
“The community will be getting an opportunity to buy stuff from the school they graduated from,” he said. “Whatever the case, hopefully we’ll have get a lot of people who are interested.”GILMORESILENT AUCTION WHEN: 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. WHERE: 789 Gilmore Ave., North Tonawanda. BIDS: Announced on Aug. 26. -- Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.