We were excited to learn earlier this month that Pinellas County Schools has issued a Request for Proposals for the redevelopment of the historic Tomlinson Adult Education Center into affordable housing for Pinellas educators.
Shuttered in 2021, questions about the fate of the historic building in the Mirror Lake neighborhood swirled. Would it be sold to a developer and demolished? Could it host another school or perhaps a social services organization?
Over the past year, Preserve the ‘Burg reached out to community leaders, school representatives and local nonprofits to help identify a potential tenant, and to advocate for the historic structure to remain intact.
Following a public workshop in February, district officials announced their plans on Nov. 2, 2022.
“In order to attract the best teachers to our community, we must be proactive in providing housing choices that are attainable and appealing,” said Superintendent Kevin Hendrick. “This project sets out to innovatively and collaboratively address housing for our teachers and other district employees.”
In addition to addressing “the shortage of workforce housing for district teachers and employees,” the County’s Request for Proposals (RFP) prioritizes the “preservation of the existing Tomlinson building.”
The building opened as St. Petersburg Junior High School in 1924. It became a vocational high school in 1931 and was named the Edwin H. Tomlinson Vocational School in 1935. In 1978, the school became known as the Tomlinson Adult Education Center, the name it held until its closing in 2021.
The nearly 100-year-old Mediterranean Revival structure was designed by St. Louis architect William Ittner, who had recently completed St. Petersburg’s first high school, located just down the street, in 1919.
Perhaps an inspiration for the Tomlinson School, the historic Ittner-designed high school building was converted to residential units in 1991 with assistance from the City of St. Petersburg. The locally designated landmark is home to 50 market-rate condominiums.