Public auction benefits community

The wind was blowing and snow covered the streets, but that did not stop the dozens of pickup trucks from filing into the C-wing parking lot. “Public Auction” signs were posted on Wicker Avenue on Saturday, Feb. 1, and a large group of taxpaying citizens crowded in the foyer to register their bid cards. From refrigerators to baby simulators to stainless steel siding — everything was up for grabs. LC was being sold.

“We have a good crowd here today, which means we will get a fair price for all our scrap because mostly what’s left is scrap. We were pretty intentional over the last two months to get our head custodians and our principals from all other buildings in the district to walk through and grab what they thought they could use,” Dr. Larry Veracco, Superintendent, said.

Saturday, the property was fair game to anyone legal to register. Citizens flocked into the North Wing for various reasons. Most were there to collect scrap metal, but some had a more creative purpose.

“We are redoing [my son’s] bedroom in a [Chicago] Cubs theme, so we wanted lockers to put in his bedroom. We are looking for red or blue,” local resident Beth Wanicki said.

Others were looking to improve their own local businesses with equipment from their alma mater.

“I’m looking for some equipment out of the auto shop I used to go to. I have a transmission shop in St. John,” local resident Mason Smith said.

One woman however, wasn’t there to collect scrap metal or acquire personal property. Local resident Diane Schweitzer was there to change the lives of others.

“In my position as Director of Buildings and Grounds I am responsible for replacing furniture in our 22 schools. As we have 22 schools in Hammond with severe lack of funding, we are in desperate need of replacing many desks throughout our schools. Desks in several of our schools have not been upgraded for many years. The desks I was able to purchase at the Lake Central auction will make a huge improvement in our schools,” Schweitzer said.

The auction provided the opportunity for those in the region to obtain a part of the old school, make a profit on otherwise disposable scrap metal, but mostly to give back the schools in our community.

“We are very grateful to the Lake Central Schools for affording us this opportunity to ‘recycle and reuse.’ It is a huge benefit to our students and to our community. We are sincerely thankful to Mr. Rob James and Dr. Larry Veracco for making this opportunity available to us,” Schweitzer said.

According to Mr. James, $50,287 was generated from the auction.