ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas County Schools began work March 20 to install the first-ever artificial turf in the district, as well as a rubberized track, at St. Petersburg High School.

The majority of the project will be completed by the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The athletic facility improvements are part of an overall project to update the campus of St. Petersburg High School.

Currently, several teams and school organizations use the same field for games and practice space. The new artificial turf is more durable for heavy use or weather. The turf also reduces maintenance and upkeep costs to the district and gives student athletes the opportunity to compete in a state-of-the-art setting.

The school district has allocated more than $30 million for improvements to St. Petersburg High School, which includes the updates to the athletic facilities. The St. Petersburg High School Alumni Association has raised additional money, which will be donated to help improve the school’s athletic facilities.

St. Petersburg High School is on the National Register of Historic Places and changes to the school must meet strict guidelines. In addition to the artificial turf project, St. Petersburg High School has several improvement projects under construction, which include renovating historic building classrooms, auditorium and administration office space, building a new cafeteria and enlarged courtyard area and overall updates to infrastructure throughout the school.