Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Old school on Fourth Street sold; South Ward to be leased

North Ward Secondary School is at 327 11th Ave. N in St. Petersburg. Newly sold, it’s not known what will become of it.


North Ward Secondary School is at 327 11th Ave. N in St. Petersburg. Newly sold, it’s not known what will become of it.

ST. PETERSBURG — North Ward Secondary School has been sold for $1.9 million, despite efforts by two community groups to first get it declared a landmark.

The century-old school was closed in 2008 and has remained vacant. It sits on less than an acre just off the Fourth Street N corridor, at 327 11th Ave. N. The Pinellas County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the sale of the property to GLI Development LLC of New York.

The sale is part of a broader strategy by Pinellas officials to unload closed school sites across the county or find uses for them. Superintendent Mike Grego said there were 15 such sites about two years ago. Now there are four. Maintaining closed schools is costly and serves no purpose, he said.

In keeping with that strategy, board members also agreed Tuesday to lease the closed South Ward Elementary School in Clearwater to the Clearwater Historical Society. As part of the agreement, the site at 610 S Fort Harrison Ave. will include a small museum of the school district.

When the district closed it in 2008, South Ward was Pinellas' oldest school. It opened in 1906 and was the original site of Clearwater High.

District officials sold the former Southside Fundamental Middle in St. Petersburg last year for $1.1 million, allowing the property to be turned into a new charter school, University Preparatory Academy. They plan to reopen Gulf Beaches Elementary in St. Pete Beach and Kings Highway Elementary in Clearwater as technology magnets for the 2014-15 school year. Those schools were closed in 2008.

The sale of North Ward Secondary had been opposed by St. Petersburg Preservation Inc. and the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood. Robin Reed of the neighborhood association said North Ward had been an integral part of the Old Northeast for almost 100 years.

The groups' effort to have North Ward given historic designation failed. But Monica Rowland Kile of St. Petersburg Preservation told board members that she had been assured by the new owner that the building wouldn't be demolished. She said they had feared it would be replaced by a bank or gas station.

A representative of GLI Development wasn't available for comment Tuesday.

The district says it would have taken a large amount of money to bring the school back into use, and that upkeep costs and liability exposure made selling the property the best option. Electric and water costs for the vacant structure came to more than $4,000 a year, the district said.

Cara Fitzpatrick can be reached at Follow @fitz_ly on Twitter.

Old school on Fourth Street sold; South Ward to be leased 06/12/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:25am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Homeland security chief defends Kushner's alleged proposal for 'back channel' to the Russians as 'a good thing"


    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the lone administration official to speak out publicly about reports that Jared Kushner sought a back channel to communicate with the Russian government, defended the move, saying it was a "good thing" for the U.S. government.

    Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Jan. 30. [Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford]
  2. After hard charging on health care in 2016, Marco Rubio is slow, careful


    As a presidential candidate, Marco Rubio pitched an Obamacare replacement and tore into Donald Trump for not having one. "What is your plan? What is your plan on health care? You don't have a plan," the Florida senator aggressively challenged in a February 2016 debate.

  3. Report: Florida counties part of liver disease cluster


    STUART — Four counties along Florida's Treasure Coast make up a cluster with high rates of both deaths from liver disease and algae blooms.

  4. Authorities say cocaine is making comeback in Florida


    FORT LAUDERDALE — Drug enforcement officials say traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade.

    Traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade, officials say.  [Times files]
  5. Amid escalating Russia crisis, Trump considers major staff changes


    President Donald Trump and his advisers, seeking to contain the escalating Russia crisis that threatens to consume his presidency, are considering a retooling of his senior staff and the creation of a "war room" within the White House, according to several aides and outside Trump allies.

    President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a retooling of his senior staff. [Doug Mills/The New York Times]