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Tyrone Middle in St. Pete to get a $28 million makeover

News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
An artist's rendering shows one view of Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg after a $28 million renovation. Work is expected to start in February 2021. The Pinellas County School Board approved a contract with Rowe Architects Inc. to work on the project. [Pinellas County Schools]

The Pinellas County School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a $2.1 million contract with Rowe Architects Inc. to design and administer a $28 million renovation at Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg.

The project will be done in phases and will include new space for the school’s Center for Innovation and Digital Learning, upgrades to the gymnasium, a new classroom building and a new cafeteria, art room, band room and administration offices. Other improvements include a larger space for the car line, which will face 66th Street, and the removal of four portable classrooms.

The school’s digital learning program uses project-based lessons, interactive online activities and face-to-face lessons to encourage students to be critical thinkers. It is open to students countywide.

The project will begin in Feb. 2021 and is expected to be completed by August 2022. Tyrone Middle, opened in 1954, is one of the county’s oldest middle schools.

A rendering shows a courtyard between the remodeled cafeteria and a new arts building planned for the campus of Tyrone Middle School. [Pinellas County Schools]
An artist's rendering shows an overall view of the Tyrone Middle School campus after a $28 million renovation expected to be complete in August 2022. The view is looking south, with 66th Street N on the right. [Pinellas County Schools]

If you’re switching careers, Pinellas needs teachers

The Pinellas County school system will host an information session March 12 for anyone interested in becoming a teacher. Like other districts in Florida, Pinellas is experiencing a teacher shortage. The district has 37 vacancies, with the greatest need in math. Across the rest of the state, schools also are seeing teacher shortages in elementary schools and in the areas of science and exceptional student education. At the information session, hosted by the Pinellas Schools’ Talent Acquisition Team, participants will learn how to become a certified teacher with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Among those who have gone through the district’s Teacher in Transition program are a nurse who became a biology teacher, a Navy veteran who became a math teacher and a teacher who left the insurance business. The session will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Stavros Institute, 12100 Starkey Road in Largo. Participants are asked to register by March 10 at For more information, call (727) 588-3746 or write to

SPC hosts workshop on computer-aided design

St. Petersburg College will host a free jewelry-making workshop using computer-aided design software from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. March 7 at the SPC Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew St. Students will design their own 3D-modeled jewelry that will be created on site with a 3D printer. The workshop, sponsored by Duke Energy Foundation, will also provide information on SPC’s Computer Aided Design (CAD) certificate program, which prepares students for careers in the energy and engineering fields. The event includes free lunch and giveaways. To register, visit For more information, contact Lara Sharp at or call (727) 398-8256.

USF St. Pete students compete to save energy

Students in a residence hall at the University of Florida St. Petersburg are competing to see who can use the least amount of energy over a three-week period. The project was organized by Nicolas Gonzalez, an environmental science and policy senior who wants to encourage his peers in Pelican Hall to use the stairs instead of the elevator and turn off lights when they leave the room. The competition, dubbed Utility Utopia, began on Feb. 21 and ends March 13, according to the USF St. Petersburg website. It was inspired by a documentary Gonzalez saw while in high school about how competitions can motivate people to adopt more sustainable practices. “I’ve kept thinking about that idea,” Gonzalez told the school. “When I needed to come up with a research project for my senior year, I decided this would be perfect.” Residents are competing to see which floor can use the least energy as tabulated on a website developed by Gonzalez. “We often talk about energy harvesting and generation," said Gonzalez’s adviser Madhu Pandey, a visiting assistant professor of chemistry. "But we need to think more about ways to conserve energy by using less.”

Student art finds a home at Gibbs High

The work of hundreds of Pinellas County student artists is on display over the next few days at Gibbs High School, 850 34th St. S in St. Petersburg. The exhibition includes sculptures and ceramics in the school’s art gallery and short films to be shown at a premiere from 5:30-7:30 p.m. March 4 in the Grand Theatre. Student artists and their teachers will be present for the event.

Elementary school lunches

(March 2-6)

Monday: Chicken nuggets with roll, Max Cheese Sticks, fruit and yogurt plate, deli meat and cheese sandwich, baked beans, marinara cup, veggie dippers.

Tuesday: Breakfast for lunch, Pizzaboli, chicken caesar salad, Jamwich Kit, deli-roasted potatoes, marinara cup, romaine side salad.

Wednesday: Pasta and meat sauce or meatballs, beef ravioli and roll, chicken nuggets with dip cup, yogurt and fruit parfait, ham and cheese croissant, crispy fries, sliced cucumbers.

Thursday: Bacon cheeseburger, grilled cheese, Apple-A-Day Salad, chicken caesar wrap, tomato soup, mixed side salad.

Friday: Pizza variety, fish nuggets with roll, chef salad, turkey and cheese hoagie or sandwich, spinach or collard greens, fresh veggie dippers.