Old Cortez school nearly new again
You name it and it's just about done at the old Cortez school,
now being rehabilitated as a museum/exhibit hall/community center.
The new roof
is almost done, the electrical system replaced, plumbing
ready, drywall up, floors ready for sanding, exposed
wood being primed, the whole building reinforced and
Even better news:
It all may very well be finished six weeks from now.
Whether a certificate of occupancy will be in hand
by then is another question.
TriTech Construction & Design
of Bradenton has the contract for $527,484 for the
The Cortez historic
sites manager, Roger Allen, who is in charge of the
school project among others, said one of the biggest
and most important jobs was assuring a strong foundation.
The old one was replaced in places and the whole underpinning
was brought up beyond standard.
Another was the
strapping-down of the whole building, from roof to
foundation. Everything was tied together and down,
he said, to meet the most stringent building codes.
The windows are
next, and they should be ready for installation this
week. They are custom made one by one to replace the
odd-sized old ones. All of the window frames have already
Outside the school,
the site plan has been submitted for the preserve to
be developed on the 4½ acres of school grounds,
including a parking lot south of the building.
The Burton Store
can then be moved onto the property from where it has
rested for decades across from the Coast Guard's
Station Cortez. It is envisioned as the gateway to
the FISH Preserve next door, the 95-acre property bought
over the past few years by the Florida Institute for
Also coming is the Pillsbury Boat Works building.
It was donated by the Pillsbury family and Jim Alderman,
owner of Snead Island Boat Works - he restored
the historic building and will move it to Cortez when
the time comes.
There is even
a picnic pavilion in the works for the south side of
the school grounds, to be financed by a grant from
the Parker Foundation.
The school was built
in 1912 but in its later years was used by late artist
Robert Sailors as a home and studio. Manatee County
bought it for public use.