Dudley School Rehabilitation Project Seeking Volunteers Friday and Saturday
What historians refer to as the oldest structure still standing in Alamogordo’s Chihuahuita neighborhood is getting a new lease on life thanks to a diverse collection of community volunteers collaborating in tribute to history and historic preservation.
The Dudley School structure and the project is seeking volunteers this Friday and Saturday to continue with the painting project.
The project is a project of community pride for most members of the Chihuahuita neighborhood in City Commissioner Sharon McDonald’s District 5. Mrs. McDonald. a former student at the school, has helped champion saving this oldest building in the city, with a rehabilitation effort. The effort is in collaboration with the city of Alamogordo and the Tularosa Basin Historic Society, and a cross section of diverse community volunteers.
The Dudley School also known as the Maryland Street School as it was formerly known was built in 1914 and contained four classrooms. It is being restored into a community center and park with a playground with nods to the school's history. The building will contain story boards that tell the history of the Hispanic and Black kids that attended the school and their perspectives of history and the times of its operations. This is the first significant and historically important rehabilitation effort to occur in this historically neglected neighborhood that certain segments of Alamogordo once referred to as Alamogordo’s barrio.
The neighborhood is on the rebound with “Chihuahuita pride” with this historic project as a catalyst to tell the neighborhood history, Néw sidewalks are being put into the neighborhood and parks opened.
"This building has a lot of meaning to it," Joe Lewandowski, of the TBHS, said who is project leader and liaison between the city of Alamogordo, the Tularosa Basin Museum and with his wife Debbie seeking the stories and leading volunteers.
This Friday and Saturday show up and join the community effort as a volunteer. Per Joe, “We will be working at Dudley this Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 AM. Normally working until 11 or 12. But if you can help, don't have to stay whole time, everything helps. We will continue to paint the exterior, some glass/weed cutting and start on the windows.
We are close to returning to the inside to do our thing, the contractors are so close to completing their work. We do have electricity and water in the building now. The roof is complete, and the south wall is repaired, just painting now. Hope to see you, we can use all hands. Thanks.”
A period of time of the authentic history, art and culture of the Hispanic community within the area known as Chihuahuita is represented within the walks of this historic building.
Some have suggested the name should be changed to better represent the historical importance of the neighborhood.
The renovation effort is a start for a vision and goal for neighborhood to embrace the facility after rehabilitation, as a center of positive activity, cultural education with teaching opportunity of the past. Imagine the day with the grounds and the facility host cultural events, fiestas and celebrations within its grounds.
The project can set a national example as a path forward in collaboration, historic preservation and community pride from within Chihuahuita and well beyond its borders.
Come out Friday and Saturday 7 am and join the effort of historic preservation improvements important to keeping historic sites functional and alive.
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