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Group backs out of deal for Anderson's Wigwam

July 9, 2014
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Officials say a private group has backed out of a deal to take over Anderson's closed Wigwam gymnasium, leaving its fate uncertain.

Anderson economic development director Greg Winkler told The Herald Bulletin that the attorney for Wigwam Sports & Entertainment informed city officials on Tuesday about the decision.

That action came on the same day that the Anderson School Board was expected to transfer ownership of the 9,000-seat gym to the city redevelopment commission.

The school board voted to give city officials until Sept. 2 to take over the Wigwam. That's a day before demolition bids on the building are set to expire.

Mayor Kevin Smith said he still hopes to save the Wigwam, which the school district closed in 2011 as a cost-cutting move.

School district officials have said it will cost an estimated $700,000 to demolish the Wigwam complex and mitigate asbestos in the building, which also includes classrooms and offices.

The Wigwam was built in 1962, and the only larger high school gym in the country is the Fieldhouse in New Castle.

Organizers had planned to operate the gymnasium as a venue for various events and have had discussions with a foundation and a not-for-profit organization about the potential use of the classroom space.

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