(JACKSONVILLE, FL) Sept. 4, 2014 — In a glitter-filled, earth-turning, show-stopping ceremony, the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts officially broke ground this morning. Ajax Building Corporation is once again partnering with the Duval County Public School’s on the $14.6 million project that will give the nationally recognized arts school an additional 68,045 square feet of new and 4,692 square feet of renovated space for the existing building #14 consisting of dance space and costume storage when construction is completed next August.
The Duval County Public Schools project a two story buildings for the school’s music, technical theater, visual arts and film and television programs. The project includes a new cafeteria with outdoor dining and an a la carte station, general classrooms and four science labs, two demo labs, new chiller building, new parking, storm water drainage and retention upgrades. The cafeteria/kitchen area and four classrooms will also serve as a community hurricane shelter.
The existing cafeteria will be renovated into a dance studio with dressing and storage rooms, HVAC upgrades will be made and site improvements done. Nine portables have already been moved off site and O once complete, the 4 remaining portable classroom buildings will be removed from the campus. Seven temporary classrooms have been built inside the existing Gymnasium for this school year until the new addition is completed.
Already one of the largest arts schools in the nation, the project will increase student capacity from 1,169 students to 1,327. Built in 1922 and expanded in 2001, the school is located on a 12-acre site.
The groundbreaking drew about 90 special guests, including U.S. Representative Ander Crenshaw, Florida Representative Charles McBurney, Florida Representative Reggie Fullwood, Superintendent Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, and Ashley Smith Juarez (School Board Member, District 3).