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Offer may extend deadline on Anderson's Wigwam gym

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Leaders of an effort to save Anderson's iconic Wigwam gymnasium are working on a proposal that could extend a deadline for deciding on its possible demolition.

Anderson economic development director Greg Winkler said the Wigwam Sports and Entertainment group that wants to reopen the 9,000-seat gym and three other organizations have agreed to cover four months of the Wigwam's operating costs. Monthly costs for utilities, insurance and an alarm system range from $6,600 to $7,900 per month.

Winkler told the Herald Bulletin that if the Anderson School Board approves the plan, the March 1 deadline for a private group to take over the gym would be extended until the end of June.

Officials say the Wigwam group is working to raise $1 million toward reopening the gym.

The Anderson Community School Corp. closed the gym in 2011 as a cost-cutting move. The district previously said it would pursue demolition plans if a private developer couldn't be found to take over ownership of the building.

The gym was built in 1962 when Anderson was at its economic height with General Motors and other auto companies employing some 27,000 people in factory jobs that have nearly vanished from the city. The only larger high school gym in the U.S. is the Fieldhouse in nearby New Castle.

The Anderson school district's decision to close the Wigwam followed its consolidation from three high schools to one since the late 1990s and the loss of more than 3,000 students to fewer than 7,000 since 2005.

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  • May come True
    As a Highland High School Graduate, one "cheer" I heard a lot was "Drop the Bomb, Drop the Bomb, Drop the Bomb on the Wigwam. Looks like that may actually happen **wipes tears from eyes** Lots of great memories there (especially sectional and beyond). I hope they save it, but only if it makes sense economically.

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