Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Paul, county's oldest Catholic school, is renewed

ST. PETERSBURG

The corridors of St. Paul Catholic School recently were filled with excitement in anticipation as a newly renovated school prepared for a new term.

Renovations included the latest technology with gadgetry to boot.

Born during the Great Depression in the fall of 1930, the school stayed much the same until 2006 when long-overdue renovations began and were finished just days before school began this past Monday.

How does a school get built during tough economic times?

"Through people willing to sacrifice. People believe in St. Paul. When they give, (St. Paul) gives back," said Elizabeth Fulham, principal at the parish grade school.

St. Paul Catholic School, at 1900 12th St. N, was Pinellas County's first Catholic school and was originally founded by six sisters of St. Francis, a religious order that provided Catholic nuns as classroom teachers during that time.

Today, only two sisters from the Order of St. Francis remain at St. Paul to mold young minds.

The current gymnasium used to be the church. The original ceiling has been preserved and the original doors were replicated for the renovation.

Some of the original, old brass lighting fixtures have been restored and remain today. The terrazzo hallway floor is the same, only brilliantly polished, preserving the cracks of old age.

Even the bricks on the exterior of the school were saved and used as part of the new construction.

"It's so nice now, it's great, " says Betsy Alonzo, a 16-year veteran teacher of math and social studies. Her middle school classroom and all of the other 18 classrooms are state of the art, with every teacher having his or her own laptop.

Each classroom is equipped with Smartboards, a newfangled replacement for the old chalkboard.

This new teaching tool allows interaction between teachers, students and parents and is very much like a giant computer touch screen that projects an image of the teacher's laptop computer onto the six-foot long Smartboard. Teachers can also e-mail the students and parents exactly what they accomplished in class or to the students who stay at home due to illness.

Each Smartboard costs $2,500, but they eliminate the use of dry erase and chalkboards. In an attempt to "go green," school authorities decided to get rid of these tools of the past and to utilize new, high-tech ideas and equipment to make the classrooms more environmentally friendly.

During times of inactivity in the classrooms, the overhead fluorescent lights automatically turn off. They turn back on when motion is detected. In a way, God is going green here at St. Paul. Fulham says they "are caring for God's creation."

All of the monies raised for the renovations came from dedicated parishioners. The target goal from the capital campaign was $2-million, which was exceeded — with money still coming in. Some people have pledged to pay over a period of up to five years, Fulham said.

Shawn Fernald of Fernald Construction has been the contractor for the renovations, and his children attend the school. The student body is up this year, with enrollment at 325 students.

St. Paul, county's oldest Catholic school, is renewed 08/23/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 1:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Cal Foote said he was so young when his father, Adam, played in the NHL, he didn't remember their hug in the Avalanche's dressing room during the 2001 Stanley Cup celebration.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary celebration

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.