Decades-old school-turned-museum could be sold in Seminole County

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - It's an uncertain future for a Seminole County museum that has been a staple for thousands of elementary school children for more than 100 years.

An old school house converted into a museum may be put up for sale, but Channel 9's Bianca Castro learned leaders will take one more shot to keep it, even though they can't afford it.

The former school sits in downtown Sanford and is now home to University of Central Florida's Public History Center.

"What makes it special is it has continuously operated as an education facility and still is to this day," said UCF professor Dr. Rosalind Beiler.

Beiler became director when UCF leased the property in 2012 after the school board couldn't afford to keep it running.

The lease ends this summer, and the district may sell the building.

School administrators told Channel 9 the $40,000 annual cost to maintain the site is simply too much despite its rich history.

Thousands of students graduated from the school, which continued to run as a school until 1984.

It's now right of passage in the district with just about every fourth-grade class taking a field trip to the site.

"A lot of my UCF students say, 'Oh yes, I (was there) when I was in fourth grade," said Beiler.

UCF didn't respond to Channel 9's question about whether there's interest to buy the museum.

Seminole County school officials said they want to brainstorm ways to save the museum first before deciding to sell, but if so, the idea could go to the school board in two weeks.

"I hope that we can find a way to preserve because I think it does tell the story of the community in an amazing way that a lot of the public buildings in this area do not," said Beiler.

School officials said their cost to maintain the building doesn't include what UCF pays as part of its lease, which is about $75,000.