Dudley School has potential as Alamogordo’s new community center

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Converting Dudley School — one of the oldest structures in Alamogordo, New Mexico — into a community center could cost about $557,205.60, according to a presentation made to the Alamogordo Municipal Commission on Feb. 22. .

The Commissioners took no action to approve the continuation of the proposed projectinstead reopened a discussion about rehabilitating the facility at 523 Maryland Avenue that was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s an old structure and we want to save it and restore it. It’s the story of the people and everything that happened. That’s what’s important about the structure, not just the structure itself,” said Joe Lewandowski of the Tularosa Basin Historical Society. .

The Dudley School would not be the first rehabilitation project undertaken by Lewandowski. Lewandowski helped convert the former Plaza Hotel into the Tularosa Basin History Museum.

“Today the Dudley is this old, run-down building that looks like it’s about to fall apart,” Lewandowski said. “I went through the building, around the building…Dudley is actually in better shape than The Plaza when we attacked The Plaza.”

From October 2019: Tularosa Basin Historical Society seeks grant to renovate Dudley School

The proposed plan for Dudley School would see repairs made to the south side exterior wall where the adobe has eroded due to weathering. The roof and the concrete foundation of the building do not need repairs.

The former classrooms would become exhibition areas and meeting rooms as the land is converted to accommodate off-street parking on the south side and parkland on the north side of the building.

Alamogordo City Manager Brian Cesar told commissioners that more detailed information, including further consideration of the project’s estimated cost, would be presented at a future meeting.

The historic building housed Hispanic students in the first half of the 20th century

Originally known as Maryland Street School, Dudley School was built as a four-room schoolhouse in 1914.

The school served as a transition school for Hispanic first and second graders to learn English before moving to Central School in third grade until the 1960s.

The school is named after Mary Josephine Burleson Dudley, who taught at the school from 1920 to 1946, after retiring in 1946.

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Between 1898, when Alamogordo was incorporated, and 1912, when New Mexico became a state, Alamogordo was two cities in one: Alamogordo and Chihuahua.

Prior to 1912, residents of Chihuahua were not permitted to travel north of 10th Street or to the Plaza Bar and Cafe, now the Tularosa Basin History Museum, at the corner of 10th Street and Boulevard White Sands.

From July 2019: A decree and a teenager who just wanted to play football: how APS integrated schools

Alamogordo Public Schools were desegregated in 1949 when the late Bobby Joe Fritz was allowed to play football at Alamogordo High School. His class of 1950 was the first desegregated class of Alamogordo High School.

Fritz died in 2021 at age 89.

For more information on the Dudley School, 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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