Ajax joined in the celebration at Lynch Elementary School on May 31, officially cutting the ribbon to dedicate the new $16.9 million campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. While students have occupied much of the Pinellas County school since January, Ajax has recently completed playfields and other finishing touches to wrap up Phase 2, giving administrators a chance to mark the occasion as the academic year comes to a close.
Phase 1, which began when the original building was demolished in September 2010, occurred while students attended classes in an on-site “portable city.” Ajax fast-tracked construction to get six new buildings, totaling nearly 90,000 square feet, completed and another renovated by the 2011 holiday break. In fact, the school prototype was completed two months faster than other facilities of its kind.
“We’re excited to look across our campus and see such a beautiful facility,” noted retiring Principal Lorraine Bigelow. “It’s bittersweet to be leaving just as our new school is complete, but it’s gratifying to know that the students, teachers and families of Lynch Elementary will have such a beautiful place for learning.”
The new campus includes a two-story administration building, resource/art building, cafeteria/multi-purpose building, two-story 16-classroom building, two-story 12-classroom building and storage building. Ajax also renovated one of the two buildings that remain from the original school. Ajax worked with Hoffman Architects in Tarpon Springs on the project.
Reminders of the original Lynch Elementary, built in 1958, were kept to honor the school’s past. While concrete and steel was recycled after demolition, bricks from the building were used in the new center courtyard and the original school letters were used in the second entrance to the school.
“There are considerable challenges to be met while building a new facility in a very short timeframe while elementary-age students attend classes on campus,” said Bill Byrne, Ajax president. “Lynch personnel and Pinellas County Schools administrators were great partners in the process, and we were able to meet those challenges and deliver the facility on time and on budget.”
Following the dedication, Lynch held an Academic Adventure Spring Fling, showcasing student work and other educational activities. Students were welcome to sign up for a Public Library Card, school clubs, receive a Fun Pack full of ideas for learning this summer, see Science Fair project display boards and read student writings, among other activities. Kindergarten registration also was available.