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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018 8 months ago

Audubon Park Elementary renamed as Baldwin Park Elementary

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The local elementary school has a new name, mascot and colors.
by: Tim Freed Associate Editor

Baldwin Park’s local elementary school has finally been given a new name — and there are still more exciting changes to come.

Orange County School Board members started a new chapter for Audubon Park Elementary families and students Tuesday, Feb. 13, as they voted to change the school’s name to Baldwin Park Elementary.

The school at 1750 Common Way in Orlando was given the opportunity for a name change in the wake of a new K-8 school coming to Audubon Park and taking the “Audubon Park” name.

The elementary school in Baldwin Park opened in August 2008 as a swing site leading up to the demolition of the original Audubon Park Elementary School. 

Surveys were conducted in September and October at the school, and parents were asked to suggest a new name, mascot and colors.

More than 1,100 stakeholders voted, and the name finalists included Baldwin Park Elementary, Blue Jacket Elementary and Lake Baldwin Elementary. Baldwin Park Elementary was chosen as the clear favorite with 71% of the votes and was made official by the School Board Feb. 13.

“We’ve waited for this forever,” School Board member Nancy Robbinson says. “It’s the longest swing site I think in the history of OCPS. It’s been 10 years as a swing site — they never put a name on the building. It’s really exciting. It was no big surprise to me when I saw the numbers — it’s right in the middle of Baldwin Park.”

“I am so glad — this is just a pet peeve of mine — that you named the school after the neighborhood and the area you’re in,” School Board Chairman Bill Sublette says. “Sometimes, we come up with names that sound very California like ‘Pleasant Valley’ and ‘Sunnyvale.’ I like schools that are named after the places that they are. I know you’ve waited for this. Kudos.”

The parents also decided on “Bobcats” as their mascot, with their new colors being navy and silver.

PTA President Stephanie Harley says the name change marks a new era for the school, adding that parents can expect to see some changes in the coming months. These will include an official sign with the new name, along with new welcome mats, a redesigned front office, a new mural and more. The new sign will be funded by the school district, while other changes will be funded by the PTA using funds raised during the school’s Boosterthon Fun Run Jan. 31.

A new name for the school has been approved, and so now it’s up to the parents, faculty and community to shape the school’s future, Harley says. 

“It’s definitely a great fit — it’s what the community wanted,” she says. “We are a true neighborhood school, and now our name reflects that.”

“We’re moving forward now. It’s a long time coming,” PTA Treasurer Elise Knaus says.

Tim Freed is an Associate Editor with the Winter Park/Maitland Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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