ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The clock is ticking to get Bay area schools ready for students on Wednesday.

  • St. Petersburg High School adding new lightning, electrical, WiFi
  • School will also have first turf football field
  • BELOW: How much are schools spending on improvements?
  • SEE ALSO: More Back to School headlines

That deadline is particularly close for St. Petersburg High School because it's in the middle of a two-year, $30 million renovation project.

Principal Darlene Lebo has been spending her summer break keeping an eye on renovations to the first and second floors of Building No. 4 which will be occupied this school year.

"Inspection was this morning (Friday)," said Lebo, "They're slated to turn that building over to us later today or in the morning and teachers will be moving their stuff in and started setting classrooms up tomorrow (Saturday)."

Most of the renovations are structural — new lighting, electrical and WiFi, but one of the biggest visual changes is on the school's football field. 

"(It's) the first turf field for Pinellas County Schools," Lebo said.

There is still a lot more work to do on campus, so some teachers will be holding classes in mobile classrooms.

As for the other teachers having to set things up through the construction, Lebo said, "We are making the buildings available both Saturday and Sunday and extending hours on Monday and Tuesday next week so that they have some additional time to come in and work and get things ready."


A lot of work happened over the summer to get school districts ready for next week.        

So what did they do and how much did they spend on improving their campuses?

In Pinellas, officials told Spectrum Bay News 9 maintenance is year round and the money comes from their five-year Capital Outlay Funding.

Some of the top summer projects were the replacement of AC chillers, kitchen equipment and electrical systems.

They also are finishing up installation of the "one button lockdown" security system.

We reported about this at the end of last school year. It was a pilot program then.

Hillsborough Schools had the added benefit of the new penny tax voters approved in November 2018.

The referendum funds allowed work on 102 new projects this summer.

The cost for this is estimated to be $35,270,000.

The school district was able to complete the first phase of air conditioning projects by overhauling the AC in 21 schools.

They also did 12 roof replacements, replaced playgrounds, gyms and other athletic facilities.