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Much restoration needed to dilapidated Arlington Country Day building

School closed in January, building leased to Parsons Christian Academy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Teachers and administrators who will spend the summer restoring the former Arlington Country Day School said the building is in bad shape after closing abruptly Jan. 26.

It's expected to take $250,000 to have the building ready for students. Parsons Christian Academy has leased the property to expand its private school.

After taking on nearly 100 new students, it made sense for the school to lease the neighboring property. But the principal and administrators can't believe students were in the school four months ago.

"It just boggles my mind to think that teachers were asked to teach in these conditions, students were asked to learn in these conditions," said Grace Williams, principal of Parsons Christian Academy. "It had to be a struggle."

On a tour of the property,Williams showed News4Jax collapsed ceilings, dangling lights and old carpets held together with tape. Electrical and copper wiring was stolen from the building during a recent break-in.

Administrators also discovered 40 years worth of student records in the main office.

"It's a little overwhelming," Williams said. "There are Social Security numbers, there are (sic) vital information on students' birth certificates just laying around."

Williams said her staff will pack up all the documents and take them to the Duval County School District. After that, the restoration begins.

"We believe there's a lot of work that needs to be done before these classrooms are student-ready," Williams said.

Parsons Christian Academy has 360 students. The elementary school campus is located off Fort Caroline Road. Sixth-through 12th-graders attend school at the Arlington Baptist Church campus.

After the old Arlington Country Day School building is renovated, the sixth-through 12th-grade students will use the new campus. The full renovation is expected to take years, but administrators plan to have enough done by the end of summer for students to begin using it.

Parsons Christian Academy has created a website to help fund the renovations on the building.