Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco Middle School moves into another era with rebuilding

DADE CITY — Natalie Brock tried to focus on cleaning televisions, but the tears kept coming.

"I get overwhelmed," the PTO president apologized, her voice breaking. "It's been a long time coming."

More than half a century, to be exact. The building that houses Pasco Middle School on 14th Street was built in 1949. Over the years, it has served as a junior high, high school and adult education center.

All that use took its toll. As new, state-of-the-art schools went up in other parts of the county during the housing boom, students at Pasco Middle dealt with leaks, mold and holes in the floor.

Not anymore. When classes resume Jan. 11, students and teachers will cut the ribbon on a $4.8-million, 16-classroom building that boasts all the bells and whistles of new schools: an overhead projection system with surround sound, the latest science equipment, lots of storage cabinets and a teachers' lounge.

"Teachers never had a planning area," said literacy coach Kim Rulison. "There were no permanent bookshelves, no cabinets we could lock."

Crews spent Wednesday putting finishing touches on the 28,400-square-foot building, and volunteers rolled dollies of books and files from the old school to the new.

"We want to make sure everything stays organized and gets to the right place," said Kim Anderson, who this year became the school's 11th principal. "So when the kids come back the first day, we'll be ready to teach."

The new building is just part of a $9-million renovation project scheduled for completion in 2011. The main building will be demolished, and crews will break ground on a new structure to replace it in April. It will house sixth-graders and administrators. (Both groups are now in portables.) The project was funded with proceeds from the county's Penny for Pasco sales tax voters approved in 2004. It's part of a master plan that also includes new buildings at nearby Pasco High.

Remaining will be the recently remodeled auditorium, band room, gym and cafeteria, where serving line areas also will be updated.

The new classroom building features the same type of red brick as the old school, with some new touches such as a curved roof front. It's a departure from the stock, cookie-cutter plans the district has used in the past.

"We were allowed to be creative," said Rich Bekesh, whose firm, Spring Engineering, did the design work. "We brought in a nice contemporary feel while maintaining some of the traditional elements."

Brock, the PTO president whose oldest son attended the school and whose triplets attend now, said she originally had planned to send her kids to private schools but fell in love with the teachers and students at Pasco Middle. She said it was tough to watch new schools get built in other places.

"A lot of people tend to write off Pasco Middle School," she said. "We felt like we had to fight to let people know we were still here. But it wasn't our turn.

"Now it's our turn."

Lisa Buie can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 909-4604.

Pasco Middle School moves into another era with rebuilding 12/30/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. County looks to regulate dog trainers and ban 'helicoptering'

    News

    TAMPA — More than 20 people spoke in favor of a proposed ordinance that would require dog trainers and dog day cares to be licensed during a Hillsborough County Commission's meeting Wednesday.

    Sarge, a Shih Tzu-Pekinese mix, died in the arms of owner Lorie Childers after attending a training program in 2015. Childers now wants local and state legislation to regulate animal trainers and punish ones that harm dogs in their care. [Courtesy of Lorie Childers]
  2. Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 in a call, but didn't follow through

    Nation

    President Donald Trump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said.

    President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting  with members of the Senate Finance Committee and his economic team on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 at the White House in Washington, D.C. [Pool photo by Chris Kleponis | Getty Images]
  3. State House leader Corcoran urges Congress to back Trump tax cuts

    Legislature

    TAMPA — At a time when President Donald Trump's relations with Congress grow frayed, state House Speaker Richard Corcoran lined up solidly with Trump Tuesday in urging Congress members from Florida to back the president's tax-cutting legislation.

    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran backs the supply-side economic theory that cutting federal taxes for business owners would result in more jobs for others. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Tampa's Oaklawn Cemetery placed on National Register of Historic Places

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Oaklawn Cemetery, Tampa's first public graveyard, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

    Tampa's Oaklawn and neighboring St. Louis cemeteries just north of downtown have been added to the National Register of  Historic Places. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  5. Romano: Love to hear your Nazi speech, but I'm washing my hair

    Human Interest

    A year ago, he was racism's favorite twerp.

    Richard Spencer, center in sunglasses, and his supporters clash with Virginia State Police after hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clashed with anti-fascist protesters and police in August in Charlottesville, Va. [Getty Images]