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$2.3 million contract approved for demolition of former Gary high school

$2.3 million contract approved for demolition of former Gary high school

Gary property sales (copy)

A bidder has been awarded the contract for demolishing Lew Wallace High School. 

GARY — A bid has been approved for demolishing Lew Wallace High School. 

At Monday’s Distressed Unit Appeals Board meeting, the board approved the $2,310,000 proposal from KLF Enterprises to take down the school that closed in 2014. The goal is to start demolition by the end of October or early November.

Roughly a quarter of the contract awarded is for contractors from Gary, according to information provided by the district Wednesday morning. 

Earlier this summer, Paige McNulty, manager of the Gary Community School Corp., sent a  letter to residents saying that removing the blighted former school wasn't an easy decision, but will make the community safer and clear the path for better use of the property.

In December 2020, The Times reported McNulty said in a meeting with the district’s advisory board that Lew Wallace would likely be demolished in the spring semester using money from the school improvement fund, which was established through deferred loan repayments. 

At the time, she said that among the multiple vacant and blighted former school buildings in the district, Lew Wallace had the most problems, callouts from police and break-ins.

Last September, the Gary Police Department opened an investigation after a 13-minute YouTube video showed young men defecating into a file cabinet, stun gunning each other and running naked through the gym of the abandoned school.

There have been multiple fires at Lew Wallace, even in the past year or so, including one last summer that left a firefighter injured, and another last fall that consumed the press box at the football stadium. 

Shortly before the fire to the press box, firefighters were notified of a possible body in the press box, an earlier story from The Times said. No one was found during the fire, but there was evidence of someone living there.

People with questions about the project or who want to learn more can email


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Education Reporter

AnnMarie Hilton is an education reporter for The Times. She grew up in a Chicago suburb and studied journalism at Northwestern University. Before coming to The Times, she worked as a business reporter in Wisconsin.

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