Pinellas breaks ground for new Melrose Elementary School

Pearl Sly, Vassie Walker and Anne Robinson, original members of the Melrose Women's Club, whose clubhouse sits adjacent to Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, celebrate with hard hats and shovels at the groundbreaking for a new building for Melrose. Pinellas County School Board member Rene Flowers and State Rep. Wengay Newton assist Walker with her hat. The Women's Club, which sold its property to the school district to enable the expansion of the school, has been a regular supporter of Melrose. Photo by SHAWNTEZE KING / Melrose fifth-grader
Pearl Sly, Vassie Walker and Anne Robinson, original members of the Melrose Women's Club, whose clubhouse sits adjacent to Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, celebrate with hard hats and shovels at the groundbreaking for a new building for Melrose. Pinellas County School Board member Rene Flowers and State Rep. Wengay Newton assist Walker with her hat. The Women's Club, which sold its property to the school district to enable the expansion of the school, has been a regular supporter of Melrose.Photo by SHAWNTEZE KING / Melrose fifth-grader
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ST. PETERSBURG — Dozens of dignitaries, including Pinellas School Board members, business leaders and politicians, attended a groundbreaking ceremony last week to launch construction of a new Melrose Elementary school.

The district will build a new 75,000-square-foot facility on land adjacent to the existing school at 1752 13th Ave. S.

Melrose, which includes a magnet program known as the Center for Journalism and Multimedia Studies, will become a two-building campus. One building will house high-tech classrooms; the second will include a community center, student dining hall, art and music labs, a TV studio and space for after-school programs. The project will cost $18 million and be built in phases over two years.

Melrose has faced challenges in recent years and was a subject of recent Tampa Bay Times coverage of schools that have suffered because of district policies that resulted in re-segregation.

"Far more than the bricks and mortar," Pinellas County School Superintendent Michael Grego told the gathering, "we believe in Melrose's potential. …This community deserves a state-of-art facility."

The project was designed by Williamson Dacar Associates, and will be built by Creative Contractors. Those attending the groundbreaking ceremony included Melrose faculty, principal Nikita Reed, School Board members Renee Flowers and Peggy O'Shea, state Rep. Wengay Newton and members of the Melrose Women's Club.

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