Panther Valley school District is now the owner of a massive, deteriorating industrial building on West Bertsch Street in Lansford.
Lansford Borough Council on Wednesday approved the sale of the building, formerly owned by Bennett Verta Jr., to the school district, which bid about $800 for it at a Carbon County tax sale.
School Superintendent Rose Porembo on Thursday morning said that "plans are to take a good look at it. Then we'll decide what can be done there either bring it up to code or raze it. It could become a parking lot."
The red brick building at 401-425 W. Bertsch St. is in bad shape: its roof is caving in and the walls closest to the school district's stadium appear to be bowed. District Judge Casimir Kosciolek of Lansford, who in January fined Verta $9,000 for failing to make repairs, has called the building an "absolute eyesore."
The school district has been concerned about the building's deterioration, citing worries about the safety of people attending events at the stadium.
"If it falls apart, it could be a hazard," Porembo said of the building. "We are neighbors there, and have been asking for that building to be brought up to code. We thought that now would be a good time to extend the stadium property."
Council in March decided not to take action on a bid for the building submitted by Realty Services Unlimited Inc., of Jim Thorpe, which offered $1,010. Council President Bob Gaughan said council wanted to learn more about the company's plans for the building before accepting the bid.
Verta bought the building several years ago in hopes of using it as a factory to make truck washing soap. But his Everbrite Industries never got off the ground, and Verta fell on hard times. Lansford Code Enforcement Officer Katheryn Labosky has repeatedly cited Verta for code violations that addressed the safety of the building's roof and walls, and sanitation and cleanliness.
Verta eventually lost the building to back taxes.
In other business Wednesday, council accepted the resignation of Councilman Robert Hackash, who has said he left for personal reasons. Hackash was elected in 2009.