Special to Realty Builder Connection
In 2009, Jacksonville Jaguars co-owner Delores Barr Weaver took a leap of faith and purchased an old, abandoned school in Jacksonville’s Riverside/Avondale neighborhood.
John Gorrie Junior High School was built in 1923, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 and officially closed in 1997. After 12 years of neglect and disrepair, Weaver began the restoration and renovation of the two buildings that housed the school, investing a substantial amount of her own time and money into the project.
Today, it’s called The John Gorrie a condominium and 68 residences including the studios, one and two-bedroom condominiums, and two-story townhomes ranging from 800 to 1,800 square feet. Pricing starts from the low $100,000s.
Many of the floor plans feature distinctive layouts based on the original John Gorrie Junior High School classrooms.
One residence features the original flooring from the stage in the auditorium, while another home features the original crest with molding around the front of the stage. Several residences have exposed brick walls; others have private verandas or access to the interior courtyard.
The former principal’s office now serves as a reading room and has refinished cabinets from the school, a pedestal from a former bird bath provided by the June 1926 class, as well as concrete benches donated by the 1929 class of students. The hallways display original windows and doors, chalkboards, radiators and a teachers’ mail cubby.
During the renovation, more than 81 miles of electrical wire, 78 separate air-conditioning units, and 25,000 concrete pavers were used to complete the building. Old wood flooring was retained where possible, but nearly 30,000 square feet of new wood flooring was also installed. The two buildings combined boast a total of 725 new exterior windows.