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The History of John B. Gorrie Elementary School

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John B. Gorrie Elementary School, the oldest operating elementary school in the state of Florida, was built in 1889 as Hyde Park Grammar School. It was first located at the corner of Platt Street and West Seventh (Magnolia) Avenue, where the Fire Station No. 3 stood in later years. As the student population grew, the school was relocated to 705 DeLeon Street, which was then the city limit of Tampa. At the time, there were protests about locating such a fine structure out in the wilderness. The continued need for space prompted the construction of an additional building, which contained the first indoor toilets in a Hillsborough County School. In 1915, the name was changed to "Dr. John B. Gorrie Elementary School" to honor this man's great achievements in medical science and the invention of the first ice-making machine, which became the forerunner of the early compression refrigerator and the modern air conditioner. Dr. Gorrie is one of the two Floridians whose statue has been placed in the Capitol Building in Washington, D. C.

Gorrie Elementary was renovated in 1977. The character of the building was maintained while meeting the contemporary requirements. As part of a continuing commitment to preserve Gorrie's historic integrity, the roof and exterior walls were repaired in 1989. Funded by a grant from the Florida Department of Education, the entire school was retrofitted for technology in 1995. Construction of a new Media Center, together with four additional kindergarten classrooms, was completed in the fall of 2002.

From its early beginnings, Gorrie's curricula came with high standards and expectations. Over the years Gorrie's administration, students and teachers have strived to uphold the ideals set forth for them by the community, including the achievement of academic excellence and the preparation of students ready and able to take on life's challenges. Gorrie's curricula continue to evolve to reflect changes in society and advances in technology. In addition to the excellent academic programs, and thanks to the combined efforts of our supportive parents, teachers, staff and community, Gorrie students have opportunities for enrichment including exposure to state-of-the-art technologies, innovative after-school clubs, chorus and instrumental instruction and award-winning art and music programs.

In recent years, Gorrie has won the Golden School Award, the Five Star School Award for community involvement, the Florida School Recognition Award for sustained and improved academic performance.

As each new year begins and goals are set, we look forward to another year of academic excellence during which each child will strive to reach her or his full potential. It takes the combined efforts, staff, parents and business partners to make Gorrie the outstanding school that it continues to be. Everyone's commitment to excellence will maintain the high quality of education that is part of Gorrie's reputation, history and mission.

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