NEW: Volunteers hope to raise $2 million to restore old Jupiter school


Historic school auditorium has been empty about 15 years

Jupiter school on Loxahatchee Drive opened in 1927

Jim Sparger, a volunteer at Jupiter Elementary School, wants to return the auditorium in the historic Jupiter school to its former luster.

“I remember there were basketball games. Political debates. They gave out vaccines. There were community functions. It was the heart of Jupiter,” said Tequesta resident Sparger, a former teacher at Jupiter Community High School.

JUPITER READERS: Sign up for The Post’s weekly Jupiter newsletter here

Sparger and other volunteers are seeking to raise $2 million to restore the auditorium in the beige and tan, two-story building on Loxahatchee Road just south of Indiantown Road.

The old school, where fourth and fifth grade students attend classes, is next to the current 900-student school.

When the old Jupiter elementary school opened in 1927, it employed nine teachers and had 100 students. The architectural style is Mediterranean Revival, which was fashionable during the land boom in Florida during the 1920s.

“Once we renovate the building, we could rent it out for all kinds of community and cultural events. We could have plays, dances, all kinds of community events,” said Jupiter resident Paola Ardila-Riley, a supporter of the restoration and a data processor ot the school. Her two sons attended Jupiter Elementary School.

Stepping inside the old auditorium, vacant for about 15 years, pieces of the past are scattered inside the dark building.

Dozens of wooden chairs are lined up on the floor, facing the large stage. Stained glass windows are leaning near a doorway. Two basketball hoops are still attached to the wall. Metal archways are piled in a corner.

“Our students could do plays and dance performances. The students would blossom in those areas. We could have evening events for the community,” said Jupiter Elementary School Principal Patricia Trejo.

Selling naming rights is one of the methods supporters are considering to raise money for the restoration. That method was used by supporters of the restoration of the football field and track at Jupiter Community High School.

Palm Beach Gardens-based Velocity Community Credit Union paid $100,000 to have the stadium called Velocity Community Credit Union Stadium for five years.

“Once people in Jupiter hear about the restoration plan, I’m sure they will support it,” said Ardila-Riley.

Selling names engraved on chairs and brick pavers is being considered. State and historic grants will be sought.

“Jupiter residents have a real passion for the arts and historical preservation. I’m confident we can get support,” said Jupiter Elementary School Vice Principal Katie Chrissinger.

READ: Former Florida East Coast Henry Flagler Railroad car returns to Jupiter

A steering committee plans to meet Friday to discuss ways to raise money for the restoration. For information or to contribute, call 561-741-5307.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

12 charged in high school basketball brawl
12 charged in high school basketball brawl

Twelve people, including students and adults, will be charged in connection with a fight at a Pennsylvania high school basketball game earlier this month, police said. They face disorderly conduct charges. Clairton police released details about the Feb. 6 brawl at Clairton High School between Clairton and Monessen. Police said it began as a fight between...
Police seek help finding Fort Pierce man missing since Friday 
Police seek help finding Fort Pierce man missing since Friday 

Fort Pierce police are asking for the public’s help in finding a man who has been missing since Friday and may need medical help. Dylan Graver, 25, is about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall. He was discharged Friday night from Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute in Fort Pierce, and his family notified police of his disappearance around...
George Harrison would have been 75 Sunday
George Harrison would have been 75 Sunday

The youngest Beatle would have been 75 Sunday. George Harrison was the lead guitarist for the Beatles and also had a successful solo career. He was born Feb. 25, 1943, in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Harrison was the second member of the band to die, when he passed away on Nov. 29, 2001, in Los Angeles. Harrison’s official Twitter account marked...
‘Notting Hill’ actress Emma Chambers dead at 53
‘Notting Hill’ actress Emma Chambers dead at 53

Actress Emma Chambers, who played Hugh Grant’s younger sister in the 1999 movie “Notting Hill,” died Wednesday, her agent told CNN. She was 53. Her agent, John Grant, said Chambers died of natural causes. The British actress is survived by her husband, actor Ian Dunn. “Over the years, Emma, created a wealth of characters...
Cross-country team cleans up overflowing trash in elderly couple’s yard
Cross-country team cleans up overflowing trash in elderly couple’s yard

A high school cross-country team in upstate New York helped an elderly couple take out the trash Saturday -- lots of it. Ann and Robert Dobson live in the Rochester suburb of Greece. For more than six years, garbage from a nearby shopping plaza has blown onto the Dobsons’ front yard, Rochester First reported "Last summer when I cleaned...
More Stories