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School Board Explores Options For Empty Waldo School Building

Waldo residents and town officials presented their hopes for the abandoned building that once housed the Waldo Community School to the Alachua County School Board Tuesday evening.

Residents have brainstormed uses for the empty building such as a City Hall, health clinic, community theater and dance center, or a charter school.

"I would like to see it just become another community center where we can a place to bring kids back to so that they can have some kind of relationship with  Waldo," said Dudley Wade, a Waldo resident. "We kind of lost that when we lost the school."

The school was closed after the 2014-2015 school year, due to declining attendance according to Alachua County Public Schools spokeswoman Jackie Johnson.

"Essentially what you had was a rapidly declining student population and once you reach a certain point you simply can't offer a high quality education when you have so few students," Johnson said. "So at that point the district decided to close Waldo School and send the remaining students to Shell Elementary School."

Board members seemed open to the idea of giving the property back to the city at Tuesday's meeting, with School Board Chair Rob Hyatt acknowledgeing the proposals "looks to be a win-win."

The next meeting where the School Board could discuss the future of the school is July 18.

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