Teachers and bargain hunters from throughout the region carefully examined the items lined up Wednesday in the gym at Tioga Elementary School in Bensenville.
There were free-standing white boards and piles of red student desks. Metal shelves and tables perfect for small children. Office chairs, projectors, and plenty of odds and ends from the school's dated classrooms.
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Every item was for sale. The price? Ten dollars or less.
"For a classroom that doesn't have a lot, it's nice," said elementary school teacher Marita Urban of Westchester, who picked out a book shelf and a small table that she plans to use for sensory activities.
When the surplus sale ended Wednesday evening, the original 1931 redbrick Tioga Elementary building closed its doors for good. It will be replaced by the new Tioga that has been built in two phases on the same site.
Terry Ryan, community relations coordinator for Bensenville Elementary District 2, said plans are to demolish the building as soon as possible. The hope, she said, is to have the land converted into a playground, athletic fields and some parking spaces by the beginning of next school year.
Since 2011, the district has been in the process of consolidating four of its elementary schools into two. That includes Tioga Elementary and Chippewa Elementary, built on the same block.
In 2012, a $22 million, 80,000-square-foot addition to Tioga was completed that allowed for Chippewa students to leave their aging building, which was later demolished.
Still, there wasn't enough room to house all the Tioga and Chippewa students in the addition. Everyone had to keep coming to the old section for lunch and some students continued attending classes in the old building.
Now, a second, $11 million addition to Tioga is complete. It includes a new cafeteria and another two-story wing of classrooms. Work on the second addition ended a few months ago and students already had an opportunity to use the cafeteria after spring break.
In the fall, the remaining grade levels that were holding classes in the old portion of the school will move into the renovated school with everyone else. Ryan said a dedication ceremony celebrating the new beginning will likely be held in September.
The district already hosted a community open house at the school to give interested alumni and staff members a chance to walk around, take pictures and meet up with old friends. About 150 people also attended another surplus sale held in May.
People who attended Wednesday's sale had an opportunity to purchase a $25 Legacy Brick, which will be installed in a brick plaza in front of the new school. Money from the bricks, which can be engraved with the donors' names, are going toward a public art project to commemorate the past and celebrate the new school, Ryan said.
"We are salvaging small pieces of the (old building's) facade that will be installed in the learning garden outside the new building, to kind of maintain that historic heritage," she said.
George Andrikokus, the district's band director, made it a point to stop by the sale to purchase some file cabinets for his home that he plans to fill with music and charts.
Andrikokus never taught in the old section of the building, but he did attend the school as a child. Still, he said the new building is so nice he doesn't feel very sentimental about the closing of the original portion.
"The renovations are fantastic," he said. "I think it's great how the district is preserving artifacts from the old building and putting them into the new building."
Closes: Legacy Bricks will be included in new school's plaza