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Charter school won’t take bank building

Pedestrians walk past Gary State Bank building corner 5th Avenue Broadway downtown Gary Ind. Wednesday October 24 2012.  |

Pedestrians walk past the Gary State Bank building at the corner of 5th Avenue and Broadway in downtown Gary, Ind. Wednesday October 24, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 1, 2013 6:08AM



GARY — A local charter school operator has turned down the donation of the former Gary State Bank building at 504 Broadway.

Kevin Teasley, founder and president of the Indianapolis-based GEO Foundation which operates the 21st Century Charter School and Gary Middle College at 556 Washington St., said the building had too many drawbacks.

Teasley said the 10-story, 85-year-old building needs about $15 million in repairs to bring it up to modern-day standards.

He said there is also a 99-year lease on the rooftop dotted with communication towers that has been paid in full.

“The owner wasn’t willing to prorate it and pay us for the remaining time that is on the lease. It is a liability that we would have inherited without any ability to recoup our costs for meeting the obligation,” Teasley said.

In November, the Gary School Board accepted the donation of the building from EFN Gary Property LLC, headed by Edward Napleton who owns auto dealerships in three states. After accepting the building, the divided board backed out of the deal.

The donation created controversy on the School Board with two board members voting against accepting the building because they said it needed too many repairs and saying the district shouldn’t take its focus off improving academics in its schools.

Teasley said he wanted to turn the whole building into an education center for the city.



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