One of Fort Bend ISD’s oldest structures is getting a makeover. The former Missouri City Middle School gymnasium will be restored to its original art deco design with help from Fort Bend County.
On Oct. 25, Fort Bend County Commissioners Court voted to take over ownership of the building from FBISD. A proposed agreement between the two entities to restore the building was rescinded when FBISD chose not to allocate funding for the renovations.
“It’s an opportunity to do a lot for the community,” Commissioner Grady Prestage said.
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The restoration and repairs will cost between $1 million-$1.5 million, which Prestage said would come from the county’s $120 million 2015 parks bond.
“Give us nine months, maybe a year at most, and you won’t recognize the place,” he said.
Located at the corner of Louisiana and First streets, the gymnasium was built in 1935 as a part of Missouri City High School when Missouri City and Sugar Land still had their own school districts, he said. The two districts consolidated to create FBISD on April 18, 1959, and Missouri City High School became the new district’s white secondary school, according to FBISD.
Black high school students were brought back to the building from M.R. Wood School in Sugar Land with desegregation in 1965, according to the district. Missouri City High School became Missouri City Junior High School in 1975, but the gymnasium remained in use.
FBISD opened the current Missouri City Middle School in August 2008, according to the district. A group of Missouri City High alumni formed to save the gymnasium from demolition.
John Ferro, of Stafford, graduated from Missouri City High School in 1958 and was part of that group.
“You got a lot of history in that gym,” he said.
The building was boarded up in 2009 and since then has not been operational, Prestage said.
He said he wants to make it a gathering place again.
“We want to make sure ... that you come in and feel welcomed—like you walked into the past,” he said.