Sanford considers taking over 100-year-old Hopper Academy



SANFORD, Fla. - The city of Sanford is considering taking over a 100-year-old school building.

But the Hopper Academy on Pine Avenue is in such disrepair, the city would have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix it up.

WFTV's Tim Barber asked city leaders what they plan to do with the aging building.

The old Hopper Academy appears to be just as ancient as the trees it's nestled between.

Deneba Bradshaw, a former Hopper student, said Sanford should preserve it.

"When I talk to people, I say, 'That's the school I went to in first grade,'" she said.

It's closed since then and now sits vacant, towering over Sanford's historic Georgetown neighborhood. The organization that owns the Hopper Academy wants to give it away for free.

City leaders are considering the offer, yet they do not even know what they would use it for.

They would need to pump $600,000 into the school to fix it up.

The school does not look too bad from a distance, but WFTV found problems with the duct work, wood panels, windows, electrical equipment -- and that is just on the outside.

"We have too many other things to do; there are a lot of other people that could use the money," said Sanford resident Michelle Demarest.

But for Bradshaw, the Hopper Academy is not just a school; it's a 100-year-old monument, full of memories to share with the community.

"They need to restore it because that is a historic building. They don't need to tear it down. They don't want it torn down," said Bradshaw.

City leaders will discuss the Hopper Academy next month at a community meeting.