Say goodbye: vacant Waltham North is coming down

Waltham board OKs demolition of 70-year-old school

Waltham Elementary sold one of its two vacant school buildings to the village of North Utica. Now, the other will be torn down.

Wednesday, the Waltham Elementary School Board authorized Superintendent Kristi Eager to start the demolition process for Waltham North School on North 33rd Road. The roughly 70-year-old building was the original Waltham School until the annexation of Utica’s district left them with two buildings, both vacated in 2019.

“We just didn’t want an old school building sitting there and being an eyesore to the community,” Eager said. “This was the most honorable way to respect the memory of the school.”

Waltham North won’t come down right away. Eager outlined a detailed process of bids, permits and approval by the Regional Office of Education. Estimates for demolition are pending.

The district could recoup some of the demolition costs. Eager noted the parcel includes a well and septic that could make it attractive on the commercial or residential market.

Once the building is demolished and the land sold, it brings the district’s unification plan to a close. Waltham North and Waltham Waltham South Schools were crowded and aging and district officials aspired to bring students under one roof. The district built a new school on Route 178 and looked for uses for the two vacant buildings.

The district recently found a taker for Waltham South, which is being repurposed into Utica’s village complex.

Wednesday’s meeting was otherwise uneventful. The board approved a means to pay July bills while the budget was pending and adjourned after just 20 minutes. The board next meets July 28.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins covers criminal justice in La Salle County.