Date ArticleType
8/24/2015 Member News

Kids at two Pinellas schools kickoff year at newly renovated facilities

Media contact:
Jesse Landis
813.846.3167 (c)

Kids at two Pinellas schools kickoff year at newly renovated facilities

St. Paul’s School and Lake Maggiore YMCA Preschool Academy both saw major upgrades

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (August 24, 2015) -- Wannemacher Jensen Architects (WJA) brought two major school renovation projects to a close in time for the back-to-school kick-off this week.

At 2100 26th Avenue South, in what many regard as underserved neighborhoods of St. Petersburg, kids are stepping into the newly renovated Lake Maggiore YMCA Preschool Academy this week. A $2.3 million-dollar project, the academy will serve 120 students.

The facility houses eight oversized classrooms, a full-service teaching kitchen and a community garden available to nearby families. In addition to each room being outfitted with 21st century technology, connectivity and smart boards, WJA specifically designed the space with flexibility in mind because the rooms will double as adult learning areas for financial workshops, parenting courses and wellness classes.

High-quality pre-kindergarten education – especially for low-income and disadvantaged children – has been proven to decrease juvenile arrests (by 33%), increase employment (by 23%), and increase college attendance (by more than 80%), according to the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas.

Meanwhile up the street in Clearwater at St. Paul’s School, WJA transformed a 16,000 square feet existing structure that accommodates 150 students into a personalized learning community. Focusing on an open and flexible learning space, WJA consulted with and incorporated education design principles by Fielding Nair. The new design created a reoriented entry from the exterior courtyard, removed partitions, and opened interior and exterior views to increase interaction between students and staff; and to encourage the use of outdoor learning spaces.

“Our goal is to create environments that translate a vision and reflect a community. Delivering on basic structural and technology needs is of course important, and by focusing on holistic environments, we’re designing places where it’s safe and fun to learn. We want kids dragging mom or dad to school instead of pleading with kids to get them here each morning,” said architect (and parent) Jason Jensen.

About Wannemacher Jensen Architects

Founded 20+ years ago, Wannemacher Jensen is a thriving architecture firm in St. Petersburg that designs memorable and functional spaces for working, living, and playing. WJA’s extensive roster of high-profile projects includes buildings, facilities, parks, entertainment venues, and more throughout Florida.

Projects and other information are available at, Facebook, and Pinterest.