Former Manor Elementary School going up for bid
A big piece of Manor's history is heading to the auction block.
Now in the hands of a court-ordered receiver, the former Manor Elementary School will be up for sale on Oct. 1. The minimum bid is set at $50,000, which is $185,000 less than the appraised value for the 113-year-old vacant building.
But selling an 18,000-square-foot neighborhood school in a borough with fewer than 4,000 residents won't be easy, experienced auctioneers say.
Old schools don't usually attract big-money investors, said Mark Ferry, president of the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association. He organized the Southmoreland School District's spring sale of its former administration building in Scottdale, a former school, for $28,000.
“I think you're going to be looking at a select group,” said Ferry, whose auction business is based in Latrobe. “You get a big building like that, it's tough.”
The Blaine Avenue building has gone through a few owners since the Hempfield Area School District closed it in 1990 and later sold it to an attorney for $12,000.
The current owners, George and Lori Salopek of Turtle Creek, defaulted on a $364,000 mortgage they received in 2008 through Huntington National Bank. The Salopeks, who took over the building and an empty lot, could not be reached for comment.
They bought a building that had been remodeled in the 1990s by Chuck Charrie, a Manor resident who went on to become innkeeper for The Georgian Inn of Somerset, a mansion built in 1915. Charrie's restoration — which includes separate heating and cooling units for each of the classrooms — enticed child-care centers to move into the building. He also created a two-bedroom apartment inside.
Charrie said he thinks the next building owner would be better off keeping it as a mixed-use property.
“What it does is it keeps the building active and alive 24 hours a day,” Charrie said.
Still, Dave Bambeck, the Ohio-based auctioneer who is arranging his sale, concedes he has his work cut out for him. Former schools and churches are the hardest buildings to sell, he said.
“It appears to be a sound building, and we're hoping the low minimum bid will create some interest to have some people make a go of it,” Bambeck said.
The building still registers memories for a lot of people in the area. Earlier this year, some older borough residents pressed Manor Council to nix Hempfield Area officials' request to use the former school bell — which now sits outside Manor Bank a fifth of a mile away — for a monument at that district's high school.
Phylis Levino, a former teacher there, lived a block away on Third Street. She fondly recalls the fun that teachers had in painting the halls for the bicentennial in 1976.
The building be a good space from which to operate a cyber school, said Levino, who moved to Irwin in 2005 after 40 years in Manor.
“It was a shame that they shut that school, it really was. I feel that was the best school in Hempfield. It was such a small school, and you were able to keep up with everybody.”
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New York City hunkers down as Nor’easter threatens blizzard conditions
- Rossi: Crosby’s debt to NHL paid in full
- Funeral for Joey Fabus, honorary Bethel Park police officer, draws crowd
- WVa natural gas line explodes near Ohio border
- Leechburg Road to reopen after two-vehicle accident
- Starkey: Rinaldo doesn’t belong in NHL
- Energy companies vie for experienced workers with skills in high demand
- Pitt coach Narduzzi adds N.J. linebacker recruit
- Murrysville Atria’s damaged by fire
- Penguins’ Fleury surrenders 7 goals in 1 period of NHL All-Star Game loss
- Second teen charged in Jan. 1 Tarentum shooting