Buzz: Haydon Burns Library, Duval Class-size fines, Confederates in the Armory and More
New Life for Old Library Building
After a 90-day review, the trustees of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund have agreed to move forward with the purchase of the Haydon Burns Library building and plan to convert it into a philanthropic and nonprofit center. Terms of the purchase of the building, which has been vacant for five years, are not being disclosed. Renovations are expected to take 18 months, with occupancy possible in late 2014 or early 2015. It has not been determined how many nonprofits will occupy the center, which will have some 80,000 square feet of rentable space.
Duval Tops List in Class-size Fines
Duval County Public Schools top the list of state school districts losing money for failure to comply with the state’s class-size amendment for the years 2012-’13. According to the Florida Department of Education, Duval County will suffer a reduction of $1.59 million. It was one of 25 districts not complying with the law. The money taken from those districts, about $5.6 million, will go to districts meeting the requirement. A call to Marsha Oliver, the district’s spokeswoman, was not immediately returned. Schools in Clay, Nassau and St. Johns County all met the requirements and will receive extra allocations. Clay will receive $129,271, Nassau will receive $41,081, and St. Johns will receive $115,053.
Is Flagler a World Wonder?
Flagler College, once the former site of Henry Flagler’s Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, is one of 200 landmarks nominated for virtualtourist.com quest to choose the “8th Wonder of the World.” The list includes a variety of choices from the Biltmore to the Empire State Building to Bok Tower Gardens. Visitors to the website can vote once each day through Sept. 30. The landmark with the most votes will be featured in a national television segment and receive a media push from the travel research website that is part of the TripAdvisor Media Group. The Ponce de Leon opened its doors Jan. 12, 1888, and was one of the grandest hotel resorts of the day. Flagler College, a National Historic Landmark, marks its 125th anniversary this year.
Are You Ready for Some Roundball?
NBA’s Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans will hold a preseason game at the Veterans Memorial Arena Oct. 9. The event marks the third time the Magic have played in Jacksonville and the first time since 2008. It will be the first game herefor the Pelicans, who will debut new uniforms. Tickets, which range from $15-$250, are now on sale at the Arena ticket office, online at jaxevents.com or through Ticketmaster.
Armory May Become Home for Confederate Group
An abandoned armory built in 1916 in Downtown Jacksonville may become a meeting hall and military museum for the Sons of the Confederacy. A lease agreement projects at least $50,000 will be spent on corrective work on the building, including fixing a leaky roof, repairing air conditioning and removing lead paint. The lease, introduced by Councilwoman Kimberly Daniels, must be approved by the City Council.
Tony Blair, Jeb Bush in Florida Forum
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, author Michael Lewis and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have been announced as the speakers for the 2013-’14 Florida Forum to benefit the Pediatric Surgery Center of Distinction and additional needs at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Kicking off the series is an Oct. 16 speech by Blair, who served as prime minister from May 1997 to June 2007. On Nov. 12, author Lewis, who wrote several best-selling books, including “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” and “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” is scheduled. Bush, who served two terms as governor and is rumored to be a possible Republican presidential candidate, will end the season with his Jan. 16, 2014, speech. Tickets are available at thefloridaforum.com or by calling 202-2886.
Gaffney Nonprofit Reaches Deal with State
Community Rehabilitation Center, led by Reginald Gaffney, has agreed to repay the state about $336,000 for Medicaid payments, according to The Florida Time-Union. The amount is considerably less than the $1.4 million identified in March by the state Agency for Health Care Administration. Gaffney, who served five years on the Jacksonville Port Authority Board, lost that post after the state Senate did not reconfirm his nomination. Gaffney said the Center had made changes in management and is moving to a computerized record-keeping system. CRC receives about $2 million a year in Medicaid funding.