The Utica School is located in Utica, Indiana and was constructed in 1873 as the First District School in Utica Township.1 It was rebuilt in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration project.
In 1997, the Greater Clark school district voted to replace the Utica school with a new facility, stating that the seven classroom building was the oldest and smallest in the district.2 3 Teachers had been doubled in some classrooms due to a lack of teaching space, and some functions of the school featured duel purposes: the gymnasium doubled as the music hall while the library also functioned as an art room. A new $6.9 million, 62,000 square-foot school opened on August 17, 2000, serving 180 students in pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade classes. A formal dedication ceremony and an open house were held on November 28.4
The school’s mascot was the Utica Bombers, a reference to an adjoining ammunitions plant, although this was changed to the Utica Jets when the new school facility opened.1
Under Indiana state law, the school board was forced to return the building to Utica Township because it was originally a township facility.5 As a result of the increased responsibilities, the township and the town of Utica agreed to share responsibility for the building.
Upon the first inspection of the school by the township and the town in the summer of 2002, Utica Town Council President Glenn Murphy Sr. was “devastated” regarding the condition of the building.5 Garbage littered the gymnasium and pieces of the building’s heating system had been scrapped. Water remained in the flush toilets and appliances in the kitchen were removed.
Early visions of a renovated building included a civic center, a library, youth basketball league, food pantry, senior center and day care.5
Approximately 60 people attended a meeting in the former school on January 25, 2006 to show support and initiate discussion for preservation of the historic building, where $1,925 was collected in an effort to start fundraising efforts.Approximately $4,000 was spent replacing boiler parts, and additional funds were being secured to add kitchen appliances which were all but sold and removed when the school relocated.5