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Unexpected opportunity led Hanson Aggregates to buy former Elmhurst H.S. property

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

The company will share more details about its plans after sale closes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 05:39 pm

Hanson Aggregates Midwest didn't plan to acquire the former Elmhurst High School property, but the company started considering it after the school and a parcel of adjacent farm land went up for sale as a package deal in February, a Hanson official said.

"The farm ground parcel certainly sparked our interest," said Brett Pepple, plant manager of Hanson's Ardmore site southwest of the Elmhurst property at 3829 Sand Point Road. "The school was never in our long-term plan, but it became available."

The Fort Wayne Community Schools board of school trustees voted unanimously Monday night to accept Hanson's offer of $600,000 for about 23 acres of property including the former Elmhurst High School buildings, the school parking lot and about 12 acres of farm ground FWCS owned just west of the school in the 4300 block of Sand Point Road.

FWCS closed Elmhurst after the 2009-2010 school year. The FWCS board voted in February to sell the land containing the school buildings and parking lot along with the piece of farm land. The school district accepted purchase offers through mid-July and received two proposals, including the one it accepted from Hanson.

FWCS will retain ownership of the Elmhurst athletic fields, which are used by South Side High School and Indiana Tech, the wooded environmental learning area and the nearby South Transportation Center, the latter of which serves as a hub for buses serving schools on the south side of Fort Wayne.

Pepple said he would be able to provide more details about Hanson's plans for the Elmhurst building and property after the sale is closed. No date has been set for the closing, but it could take place within the next couple of weeks, he said.

Hanson and its employees have a long association with Elmhurst, such as helping with class projects, and the company believes its purchase of the site will be good for the community, Pepple said.

"We put forth a respectable offer that not only will benefit Fort Wayne Community Schools, but also the taxpayers," he said.

Hanson's Ardmore quarry produces about 3 million tons of crushed limestone per year for construction of roads and other uses, Pepple said. The quarry is the deepest in Indiana and one of the state's largest.

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