Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State okays $10M in renovations at Tarpon Springs High

Dance director Jason Herrington, left, watches students, including Leah Francis and Stephen Sliwoski, in the foyer of the auditorium.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Dance director Jason Herrington, left, watches students, including Leah Francis and Stephen Sliwoski, in the foyer of the auditorium.

TARPON SPRINGS — The Pinellas County School District has received state approval for a $10 million renovation project that will give more space to students in the Tarpon Springs High School magnet arts program.

The project, scheduled to be advertised for an architect in June and begin next school year, rang up as one of the most expensive on the list in a $195 million capital outlay survey the district recently sent to the Florida Department of Education that proposed needed construction projects.

Clint Herbic, assistant superintendent of operational services, said the biggest piece of the proposal was identified by the school's principal, Leza Fatolitis, and includes a plan to create more space for the hundreds of students in the Leadership Conservatory of the Arts magnet program.

Fatolitis, who is in her first year as principal, said the program's recent growth has caused it to need more space than is available on campus. She said her hope is to see each piece of the program — band, choral, vocal, dance and color guard — have an area to call its own.

Jason Herrington, director and coach of the dance and color guard groups, said the renovations will make a world of difference for his students, who have no regular place to practice. He said his teams often find space in hallways and carpeted foyers and work without regular dance resources like mirrors and bars.

"These kids are some of the best in the country at their craft and they are doing it in hallways," he said. "They know daily that we are struggling. All of us in the program are trying to share the same little space and consistently someone is pushed out."

Fatolitis noted other problems at the school, like lack of storage space and the separation between different parts of the magnet program.

"Right now the band room and auditorium are on one side of campus and everything else is on the other," she said. "We want everything to come together.

She said although designs are in their beginning stages, she doesn't expect them to include a completely new building, but rather additions and updates to the current facilities.

According to the school district, other parts of the proposal include improvements to campus drainage, updates to the gym and cafeteria and the construction of a courtyard in the center of campus.

"Our campus now is set up as clusters of small buildings," Fatolitis said. "A courtyard would be a centralized space for students to gather and could bring back unity, school spirit and cohesiveness."

She said she is "thrilled and honored" that the school and magnet program have the support of the district. Herrington agreed and said it is rare to see programs in the arts getting so much recognition.

"We are at the beck and call of what the county thinks we might need, and the fact that there are even talks about us getting these renovations for a program in the arts is incredible," he said.

Herbic said the overall goal of the changes is to help tie the campus together and make it more functional for everyone.

"This is a school that had needs. Needs that were imperative," he said. "There will definitely be a change in that campus when we're done."

Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4153. Follow @mreeves_tbt.

>>FAST FACTS

$10M project highlights

Among the proposed changes at Tarpon Springs High School:

• More space and equipment for the magnet program

• A new courtyard

• Updates to the gym and cafeteria

• Improvements to campus drainage

State okays $10M in renovations at Tarpon Springs High 05/19/16 [Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2016 11:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Union versus union: Discord divides the small staff representing Pinellas teachers

    Education

    The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association says in its mission statement that it promotes solidarity and respect for the profession.

    Steve Sarang, a teacher at Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy, participates in an informational picket last month in support of employees of the Pinellas teachers union. Some of the union's office staff are in a long-running dispute with union president Mike Gandolfo and have take their complaints to the National Labor Relations Board. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. Powerball reaches $535 million, drawing Saturday

    Human Interest

    The jackpot for Saturday's Powerball drawing has reached an estimated $535 million, the largest in the nation and fifth largest in the history of the game. The cash payout for the main prize is an estimated $340.1 million.

    The Powerball jackpot reaches an estimated $535 million. [Florida Lottery]
  3. That funky smell in Old Tampa Bay is a confirmed algae bloom

    Water

    Smell something funky near Safety Harbor?

  4. St. Pete bowl renamed the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

    Blogs

    St. Petersburg, a notable contributor to college football's rich history of bizarre bowl sponsorships, might have just outdone itself.

    The annual contest, held on Tropicana Field's synthetic turf, reportedly will be sponsored by a national lawn mower manufacturer.

    Former ESPN college football …

  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]