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Longboat Key Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2018 2 weeks ago

Longboat arts, cultural and education center plan approved

The Town Commission approved what it now calls a conceptual plan for the Arts, Cultural and Education Center.
by: Bret Hauff Staff Writer

Ringling College of Art and Design may continue with its plan to build an Arts, Cultural and Education Center near Publix now that the Town Commission has approved a conceptual plan for the structure.

Town Commissioners approved the plan Monday.

The center, which private donors will fund through the Longboat Key Foundation, provides classrooms, studios, a computer lab, gallery and black box theater in two buildings separated by an amphitheater and courtyard.

Longboat Key Foundation member Pat Zunz said the OK gives Ringling the approval necessary to begin designing the structure with an architect, once money for that work is raised. Once the plan is designed and solidified by the college, Zunz said the foundation will begin fundraising for further stages of development.

Ringling officials said they have spent about $75,000 thus far on conceptual designs. More detailed architectural work is estimated to cost about $1 million,  according to Ringling President Larry Thompson.

The project is estimated to cost more than $18 million, which must be raised in its entirety before work can begin.

Ringling College has provided for the project design, and the town has offered the land on which the project will be built.

Ringling must also create and submit plans for operation, funding and construction before it puts shovels in the ground.

The more than 18,000-square-foot project is planned for a 4.8-acre, town-owned site in the Town Center, an area that is bounded by  Town Hall, the Tennis Center and the post office. 

I’m the Longboat Key Staff Reporter. I write stories about how decisions and events affect the island, its leaders and its citizens. I received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Emerson College, where I wrote for The Boston Globe. Reach me at 941-336-3468 ext. 333.

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