Old Nevada school for sale on eBay
October 6, 2004
Anyone want a well-used and much-loved school, complete with a gym, eight classrooms and ball field? Check out eBay, the online auction house where the historic elementary school in tiny Pioche is up for grabs for a minimum bid of $50,000.
The school, in use for 93 years until it closed in 2001, will be offered for sale Nov. 1 by the Lincoln County School District if there are no online takers on eBay.
Randal Allen, principal of the new elementary school that replaced the old one, said Tuesday that the 19,270-square-foot, Mission-style school was condemned because of structural problems with the gym, and is being sold “as is.”
Allen said the eBay sale suggestion came from Rick Hardy, the county school superintendent, at a school board meeting “and everyone said, ‘Why not?”‘
But the concern is that a buyer might do something opposed by locals, who over the years used the school for many community events – even weddings and funerals – in addition to sending their children there for classes. So, the school district is reserving the right to reject bids.
“I’d love to see it become an art center or multi-use facility. Someone suggested a bed-and-breakfast,” Allen said.
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“I would hate to see it razed and carted off and the land turned into a subdivision,” he said. “That would be a tragedy.”
“The whole town wanted to keep it as a historical building, but it was too expensive for everyone,” said Kena Lytle Gloeckner, who taught in both the old and new elementary schools, sent her three daughters to the old school – and even attended classes there herself. So did her father.
The old school, in the center of Pioche, population 659 and 175 miles north of Las Vegas, “outwardly looks fine, maybe there’s just one or two broken windows,” says Gloeckner, 47. “It’s a huge facility going to waste.”
Terry Jones, 72, recalls attending classes at the old school some 60 years ago, along with his brother and sister. He recalled the principal being “a real taskmaster,” and he should know: It was his father, who for nearly 30 years oversaw the school.
Jones also went into teaching, and returned to Pioche after a teaching career in Las Vegas. Back in his home town, he worked for two years as a counselor at the old school.
“It was the oldest elementary school in the state of Nevada,” Jones said. “I hate to see it go on the block. Personally, I’d like to see it restored. You could use it for a lot of different things.”
“I don’t really know what can be done with it,” he added. “It’s a great building. It would be a shame if it’s sold outright. If they could get $1 million for it that would be fine – but they’d never get that.”
Allen said the gym was built about 25 or 30 years after the main school was built, using heavy beams salvaged from an old mine – and those old beams led to the decision to condemn the entire school.
“But it may stand for 100 years more,” Allen said.
Since Sept. 24, when the school was listed on eBay, Allen said there have been more than 1,300 hits on the online ad, from people as far away as New York.
“It’s surprising, honestly,” he said. “It’s a good response. We get at least one phone call a day.”