The Ringling College of Art and Design made a strategic property acquisition last month that will give the school space next to the Sarasota Museum of Art.
Ringling bought a 7,100-square-foot retail building north of Sarasota High School on U.S. 41 for $1.6 million. The building is leased to glasses and contacts retailer Visionworks for at least the next year.
Ringling spokeswoman Christine Lange says the college saw the building as an obvious opportunity given its location adjacent to the former Sarasota High School.
The college has raised $22.5 million to convert the 57,000-square-foot school building into a modern and contemporary art museum called the Sarasota Museum of Art. The redeveloped building will feature a 110-seat auditorium, sculpture court, indoor/outdoor café, classroom, studios and meeting spaces. Construction of the project is expected to take until 2016 at the earliest.
The college is still evaluating its long-term plans for the Visionworks building.