SEMINOLE, Fla. — Pinellas County’s first full-time technical high school is already getting a new name and a major donation less than a year after opening its doors.

  • Richard O. Jacobson Foundation making major donation
  • Funds to be used to replace barn destroyed by Hurricane Irma
  • Foundation will officially announce donation later this month
  • More Pinellas County news

After the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation announced a major donation to Pinellas Technical High School, the school board voted to rename the school in his honor. The school will now be known as Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School, or "Tech High."

The donation will go towards replacing a 50-year-old barn destroyed during Hurricane Irma.

"The roof was blown off, the structure was unstable, because the roof held it together quite well," said Principal Marti Giancola. "It was sad for us, because the barn was proven[sic] unsafe — students couldn't go in there."

The barn housed sick livestock and other animals. Giancola said a new facility could have connecting classrooms and provide better education for the students, as well as top quality care for the animals.

"When it was raining, we still were out there taking care of the animals," Giancola explained. "The vet had to come, and all kinds of inclement weather affected the animals," Giancola said.

Tenth grade student Alyssa Franzini said she’s grateful for the hands-on experience that she hopes will help her reach her goal of becoming a veterinarian.

"The best way you can learn is through hands-on experience," Franzini said. "In the classroom you can learn, but unless you're applying that knowledge it's not really going to help you."

School leaders said the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation plans on making an official donation announcement for the school later this month.