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Palma Ceia

Neighbors hail new school fence

If good fences make good neighbors, Plant High's new brick entrance on Dale Mabry is''a monument.''

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 18, 2003

Plant High School officials call it a "grand entrance reminiscent of the past."

The new fence bordering the South Dale Mabry Highway entrance of the high school, almost three years in the making, is finally finished.

The PTSA beautification committee presented it to the community Tuesday evening during a dedication ceremony in the school gymnasium. About 100 people attended.

Julie C. Palios, chairwoman of the committee made up of parents, students and alumni who raised money for the project, presented major donors with framed sketches of the fence as a token of their appreciation.

Principal Eric Bergholm said the beautification project was about "what's right for Plant High School."

"When they said, 'Let's build a fence,' we built a monument," he said.

The South Dale Mabry side of the school is now adorned with a gated entrance and fence that matches the school's red brick color. The committee initially estimated the fence to cost $350,000 but scaled it back to $160,000. A fund has been established to maintain the fence and landscaping.

Katie Anderson, president of the PTSA, said seeing the completion of the fence is a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

"We always knew the community would support this project," she said.

Several contractors donated supplies and labor to reduce the school's cost. The Hillsborough County School Board committed $13,500, the cost of installing a chain link fence.

Contributions ranged from $1 to $25,000, many from alumni. Those who didn't give money, donated their time and effort.

Palios said the fence not only beautifies the school, but it changes the character of South Dale Mabry. "This was truly a community effort," she said.

-- Shari Missman Miller can be reached at 226-3374 or

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