Historic St. Pete High getting much-needed facelift

If you’ve visited or driven by, you know St. Petersburg High School is one of the most beautiful schools in the Bay Area. It opened in 1926 and now, more than 93 years later, it’s getting a much need facelift.

Amber Wey is a sophomore. At some point, most of her family has walked the halls of St. Pete High; she and siblings now, and her father a few decades ago.

“It’s going to be a whole family thing to see it come together,” Wey said.

She is ecstatic over the groundbreaking of the $30-million renovation project to give this school a much-needed facelift.

Rene Flowers, the chair of the Pinellas School Board, says the building has become a staple in St. Pete architecture.  

“We are extremely proud. It’s a lot of hard work,” Flowers said.

Security upgrades have done away with the openness for which the campus was once known, but Wey, Flowers, and others will say the building is a reminder of Old Florida, which is why in 1984 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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With that in mind, the guidelines for construction are extremely strict.

“This building stands out because, if you notice the façade of the building, it still has the historic palm base, it has the mosaic tiles that will be refurbished,” Flowers said.

The $30-million price tag will be paid for by grant funding given to the Pinellas school system.

Students will enjoy new classrooms, cafeteria, and a new courtyard.  It’s a two-year project and contractors are working with the staff, doing most of the work during the summer months, so learning isn’t disrupted too much.

“If we have good weather it may move faster than we anticipate,” Flowers said.

Some students and teachers will be phased into mobile classroom units that are being installed now.