TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The former Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Tampa – now Tampa Heights Elementary – is undergoing a major rebuild.
Two years ago, in September, the school was struck by lightning following Hurricane Irma. It caught fire and nearly burned to the ground.
The school district settled with their insurance company and now hired architect Fleischman Garcia to design the new facility.
For CEO Sol Fleischman, though, it’s more than a job – it’s personal.
“My mother was actually born in Ybor City above my grandfather’s store. She actually went to this school,” he said.
That was when the school, built in 1906, was Michigan Avenue Grammar School.
Fleischman says the new building will make use of a large number of bricks from the older structure – about 51,000.
“To build an elementary school with contemporary standards and meeting contemporary codes, we had some challenges,” he noted.
The outside, he said, will look exactly like original school. But the inside will be all new and up to date.
“We’re creating a whole new structure system within the brick envelope,” he said.
Construction should be completed by November 2020 and students should be back in school by January 2021. The rebuild will cost the district about $21 million.
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