Friday, September 17th, 2010
By Janie Southard
Crowd gathers to say goodbye, buy
Clock nets top bid at school auction
  ST. MARYS - More than 550 people milled around the former high school Thursday morning registered to bid on some piece of the place where so many memories were made. For more than nine hours auctioneers sold doors, furniture and other items from a building that will no longer exist by the end of the year.
The Seth Thomas regulator 30-day clock in the high school library brought the highest bid of $2,220. Two people, perhaps antique dealers, bid against each other to the end. The winner packed up the clock and left the building.
"It seemed they both came because of the clock. As far as I know they left in opposite directions and didn't come back," said school board president Rees McKee this morning.
Money from the auction will go into the district's permanent improvement fund.
A previous auction at a Wapakoneta school brought about $82,000 and McKee estimated Thursday's sale will surpass that.
"That's just my guess," he said.
Bidding was brisk and auctioneers Jon Hall and Larry Schaaf of Owen Hall Realtors-Auctioneers, and Brad Bartlett of B. W. Bartlett Realty, kept things moving. The brick sign in front of the high school sold for $12; the landscaping on the west side of the building went for $5; all the chairs in the cafeteria (estimated at 200) went for $50.
Everything sold, including doors and door frames and other built-ins such as glass displays near the cafeteria.
Buyers must remove all items safely by Sept. 26.
"The only slowdown was in the high school because there was a lot of bidding on memorabilia," McKee said.
Former high school government teacher Doug Spencer, now a county commissioner, recalled some good times at the school, like the time there was an assembly with a hypnotist.
"He hypnotized Ross Quellhorst, who is now probably in his late 20s. He told Ross he (Ross) could speak Japanese and that he was a tourist here at an athletic event ... I don't think I've ever laughed so hard," Spencer said standing outside the cafeteria crowded with bidders.
He recalled as a youngster in the early 1970s coming to the gym with his mother and sister who ran a gymnastics summer camp. He said his parents trusted him and he was able to roam around the school playing various kid games.
"One time Mrs. Trissel, one of the janitors, let me help her push the broom. She carried a bunch of keys on a long chain that could extend to whatever lock and sometimes she'd let me put the key in ... That was very important in my 8-year-old (world)," he recalled.
But the greatest thrill was the time as a child he got to watch the basketball team practice.
"I got to see a couple Memorial High School greats, Tommy Poetter and Damon Goodwin. That was a big thing for me but then even better Coach Hertenstein let me sweep the basketball floor," he said.
"This is a bittersweet day. This old school has served the community well," he added.
After football season, contractors will begin the required asbestos abatement. Then a chain link fence will be installed before demolition begins in November.
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