The historic Dudley School is set to become a community center

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A former student of Dudley School is working to revitalize the school by turning it into a community center.

Alamogordo City Commissioner of District 5 Sharon McDonald attended Dudley School and, alongside the Tularosa Basin Historical Society, is working to return the historic school to use as a community center .

“I’m thrilled they’re doing the Dudley School renovation,” McDonald said. “It’s exciting to see something that is in this condition that is being talked about and plans are underway to move something forward in the community. It makes a big difference for District 5 (Alamogordo City Commission).”

Alamogordo District 5 extends north just past Indian Wells Road and White Sands Boulevard, south along US Highway 70 past Alamogordo White Sands Regional Airport almost to Boles Acres, and includes the areas around LaVelle Road and Walker Avenue.

There are currently no elementary schools in Alamogordo City Commission District 5.

Sacramento Elementary School on Alaska Avenue was the only elementary school in the McDonald’s City Commission district. It was demolished in December 2020.

The former Sacramento Elementary School location is being transformed into a park with the basketball court and playground being renovated.

From February 2022:Alamogordo revisits transformation of historic Dudley School into new community center

“The lifeline of any community is the youth and I just think that part speaks volumes because when you have children or young people you know the community is going to continue and grow,” McDonald said. “When you start losing your children (through growing up or moving away), you’re headed for decline.”

The Tularosa Basin Historical Society is organizing the project which is run by volunteers, said Joe Lewandowski of the Tularosa Basin History Museum.

Dudley School was built in 1914 and began as a transitional school for Hispanic children to learn English. After integration, it was housed from kindergartens to first graders in surrounding neighborhoods before sending the students to a regular elementary school in Alamogordo.

The school had four classrooms which the Tularosa Basin Historical Society plans to restore. There were two large classrooms and two medium-sized ones that will serve as meeting rooms when the community center is completed, Lewandowski said.

Walls and toilets were added to the building when it was a halfway house decades ago. The Historical Society plans to remove the walls that were added in the 1970s and 1980s.

The building has been vacant for at least 20 years.

But one structure will remain: the white porcelain water fountain near the front door that dates back to when the building was a school.

The plan also includes ripping out the linoleum and plywood and refinishing the hardwood floors underneath.

Dudley School’s floors are similar to those of the former Plaza Restaurant where the Tularosa Basin History Museum now resides at the corner of White Sands Boulevard and 10th Street.

For more information about the Dudley School or how to help, call the Tularosa Basin Historical Society at 575-434-4438.

Nicole Maxwell can be reached by email at [email protected], by phone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter.

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