The Missouri City gymnasium, located at the corner of First and Louisiana streets, will soon be restored to its original art deco design.

In an email, Fort Bend County Precinct 2 Commissioner Grady Prestage said construction started in September, and the renovations are expected to be completed in August. The building was formerly a school gym.

“We’re going to keep the basketball court and the goals, but we’ve removed the bleachers,” Prestage said. “And we’re going to put in a mezzanine level, on both sides, so you’ll have [different] levels of activity: a fitness center, a lounge area and a juice/coffee bar.”

Teal Construction Co. is rehabilitating the facility for a total project cost of $4.6 million, funded through the 2015 facilities bond and an advance funding resolution, according to an approved March 31 Commissioners Court agenda item.

“We felt this was an opportunity, and our plans are to turn this building into a community center,” Prestage said.

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 district, according to previous Community Impact Newspaper reporting.

The two districts consolidated to create Fort Bend ISD on April 18, 1959, and Missouri City High School became the new district’s white secondary school. High school students were brought back to the building from M.R. Wood School in Sugar Land with desegregation in 1965. Missouri City High School then became Missouri City Junior High School in 1975. FBISD opened the current Missouri City Middle School down the street from the gym at 202 Martin Lane in August 2008.

A group of Missouri City High alumni formed to save the gymnasium from demolition. The building was boarded up in 2009 and since then has not been operational. In 2016, Fort Bend County Commissioners Court voted to take over ownership of the building from FBISD after the district chose not to allocate funding for the renovations.