Standing since 1914, the large building on Delaware Avenue in Fort Pierce was the first high school in St. Lucie County. It's undergone many changes in the past century.
Now, the former Fort Pierce Magnet School of the Arts is becoming the Creative Arts Academy of St. Lucie. It is the first K-8 performing arts school on the Treasure Coast.
“Students need to be exposed to the fine arts at an early age so they can explore where they want to go with multiple career avenues from sound production to theater," said principal Dr. Lori Anne Reid.
A small theater is still under construction, and dance studio space is being created.
There’s also major work wrapping up in the auditorium, with new lights, speakers, and a soundboard for hands-on student training.
“They will be able to know what sounds they need to have and make adjustments within the sound system, so they are providing the right sounds throughout the auditorium," said Dr. Reid.
The district was successful in applying for a $12.5 million federal grant that over the next five years will make improvements not only to the CAST Academy but also to the Gaines Academy and next year to Fort Pierce Westwood High School. The goal is to get more students in underutilized schools by establishing unique programs.
Dr. Reid thinks this fall's enrollment of 350-400 students will grow to 650.
The school is open to all students in St. Lucie County. There’s an application on the district website, and a random lottery to fill the seats.