AVON PARK - The South Florida State College Foundation has completed the first phase of a restoration project at the Hotel Jacaranda as part of its ongoing effort to maintain the building's historical integrity.
The project, supported with $47,495 from the Bureau of Historic Preservation of the Florida Department of State's Division of Historical Resources, centered on the installation of a primary piping system designed to replace the hotel's original, 86-year-old pipes.
"The completion of this project represents a significant milestone in our continuing efforts to preserve the historical character of the Hotel Jacaranda," said Donald L. Appelquist, executive director of the SFSC Foundation Inc. "Now we can turn our attention to the other restoration efforts, like the rehabilitation of our windows and fašade."
Located within Avon Park's historic district along Main Street, the Hotel Jacaranda serves overnight guests, visitors to its dining room and as a residence for students enrolled at SFSC. The foundation's restoration work will ensure that today's visitors can have a glimpse into the hotel's storied past when it served guests such as Al Capone, Clark Gable, and the 1927 New York Yankees.
The second phase of the project will be an extension of new piping into guest rooms and the dormitory wing. The foundation will begin seeking funding to complete the second phase.
This project builds on 25 years of preservation work of the interiors and exteriors of the building, which the SFSC Foundation acquired in 1990. The Lakeland-based firm Furr & Wegman Architects, P.A., along with Pyramid Engineering of Clearwater, designed the layout for a water delivery system that preserves the historic integrity of the building. The foundation hired a local vendor, C&C Plumbing to install the new pipes.
The Florida Department of State's historic preservation grants preserve Florida's historical and archaeological resources through restorations and rehabilitation of historic buildings and structures, as well as through survey and evaluation of historic and archaeological resources and education about Florida history.
The SFSC Foundation, Inc. serves as an auxiliary to South Florida State College, affording it the ability to raise funds in support of the college's mission of educating tomorrow's leaders and workforce. The SFSC Foundation manages more than 100 endowed scholarships, raises funds to support academic programs at SFSC's four campuses, and organizes community-focused events that highlight the Heartland's sole public college. The SFSC Foundation also funds and operates Highlands County's Take Stock in Children program, providing college scholarships and mentors to 150 middle and high school students to help them navigate adolescence and start college.
For more information about the Hotel Jacaranda or the SFSC Foundation, contact Appelquist at 453-3133 or Appelquist@southflorida.edu.