MILTON — The Jay Historical Society wants Jay High School's auditorium on the National Register of Historic Places. Members have asked the Santa Rosa School District to sign off on the request to apply for placement on the register.
University of West Florida Historic Trust preservationist Ross Pristera toured the building on Jan. 3 to assess its historical and architectural significance. Despite the building existing since the 1940s, his initial assessment was not positive.
The entire building has been renovated since its inception and the only original feature may be the wood proscenium around the stage's opening, according to Pristera, as it has the correct detailing for the period. However, the exterior has remained relatively untouched, the only modifications being a new roof, new entry canopy and storm windows.
“The changes that have occurred have resulted in a loss of architectural elements that are required to qualify the building as architecturally significant,” Pristera said.
Modifications for functionality, safety and energy efficiency will reduce architectural significance even further.
But there may be hope for JHS if the auditorium has notable history.
“Determining the cultural significance requires extensive research to show how the building has influence, hosted or contributed to the importance of the larger community,” Pristera said in a letter to assistant superintendent for administrative services Joey Harrell.
Pristera recommended the school district research the building’s cultural significance. This will be Harrell’s task before the district approves the request.
School Board Chairman Diane Scott recommended the Jay Historical Society to look at placement with the state’s register due to easier requirements.