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Developer to reveal new plan for Boynton Beach's historic high school
Monday, 01 February 2016 22:30

Attiyya AnthonySun Sentinel
January 29, 2016
You may be able to live in Boynton Beach's historic high school
Boynton Beach's long-vacant high school could become a downtown hot spot where you can sculpt pottery or watch a play.
That's one of the ideas that historic-preservation developer Rick Gonzalez, of REG Architects in West Palm Beach, is planning to present Tuesday to city leaders.
As part of Gonzalez's plan, the high school at 125 E. Ocean Ave. could become the new site of the city's art and civic programs and a catalyst for Boynton Beach's downtown. One scenario calls for condos inside the high school, which dates to 1927. Another proposal calls for condos in the school's parking lot.
The plan to save the old school could result in a demolition of the art center at 125 SE 2nd Ave., and civic center at 128 E. Ocean Ave., said Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick, who has seen a preliminary version of the plans.
"Incorporating the civic center and the art center activities into the old high school is a viable option," Fitzpatrick said. "Programs that are already up and running could help fund the renovation, and the idea of a mini-mixed-use development makes it more viable to the overall downtown plan."
Fitzpatrick's only qualm with the plan is how to pay for it, he said.
In August the City Commission voted to tear down the building to move forward with its Town Square development plan, which calls for creating a "civic campus," an area where people can live and work to bring more people downtown.
Commissioners said that the $6 million needed to fix the old school isn't in the budget, and razing the building would cost less than $100,000.
Five months ago, after hearing about residents rallying to save the building, Gonzalez volunteered to develop a financially feasible plan to renovate the building.
Gonzalez, who couldn't be reached for comment despite phone calls and emails, is a familiar face: He has appeared before the commission in 2001, 2008 and 2011, with plans to save the beloved school.
Boynton Beach residents hope that this plan resonates with the commission.
Barbara Ready, resident and member of the historic preservation board, wants the building to remain a critical part of the city's downtown.
"Once it gets fixed there's no lack of activity that could take place in there," she said. "We could be using the gym to have festivals and art shows."
Vice Mayor Joe Casello said that if a decision isn't reached Tuesday, the building will be demolished this year.
"This is life support for the school right here," Casello said. "If we can't agree to get it done this time around, there is no more discussion on it. We've kicked the can down the road long enough."

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